» Robert Motherwell
Robert Motherwell
Submitted by Admin on Sat, 08/09/2014 - 09:14

MODERN ART has been a guiding force as I have sought to navigate my ambivalence with the Eurocentric canon of plastic surgery.  The American artist, Robert Motherwell, once described the intent of his art as to unify the plastic and psychic.  This sentiment resonated deeply with me.  In many ways, the pattern of plastic surgery needs an undercurrent of psychic fragmentation in order to exist. We are often misled to think that focusing on “the body” in isolation can create sustainable improvement, that is, without integrating therapy to enhance the mind or spirit.  We all too readily accept the incomplete notion of physical change over metaphysical transformation.  I have found it exceedingly challenging to operate (literally and figuratively) within this divided space. 

I believe now is the time for an aesthetic revolution – a fight to unify the plastic and psychic! 


Robert Motherwell.
Africa 5, Screen-print on paper, 1970

Plastic (plas-tik): having power to give form or create  

Psychic (sahy-kik): of or relating to the human mind or psyche

Every day that we are blessed to arise and breathe is a new opportunity for growth.  As I look to the future, my growing edge extends well beyond the horizon of Western plastic surgery.  Like a collage artist, I have deconstructed my notion of plastic surgery into fragments.  In the fragments, recurring patterns have emerged.  And in the patterns, I have glimpsed a unified vision of what it means to be beautiful, healthy, and whole.

I’ve always been a conservative surgeon, adopting a less is more attitude.  I have dedicated myself to enhancing my knowledge for the when, how, and how much of elective facial plastic surgery.  In other words, the nuances of when a particular procedure is indicated, the technical understanding of how best to perform the procedure, and the cultural competency of knowing how much change is the right amount to achieve a natural result.  Somewhere along the path, however, my conservative tendencies slowly shifted towards reluctance.  The reluctance has been fueled by an enlightened realization that patients need much more than physical change to truly embrace their own beauty. 

A major part of my equation for achieving successful surgical outcomes has been dependent upon selecting the very best candidates.   I’m sure many of my patients would find it quite amusing to know that much of the consultation is a two-way process where we both are feeling each other out to see if it’s a good fit.  I essentially cherry pick those individuals with a combination of the right anatomy and right mindset.  Consequently, many individuals are turned away.  I have always felt that there was something much more than missed revenue in turning patients away—the opportunity for growth by turning them towards something else that may ultimately be life enhancing. 

I am excited to say that I have the “something else.”  I call it, Artisan of Self, a 12wk wellness program comprised of cosmetic treatments, mindfulness experiences, and artisan workshops.  Think of it as a 21st century beauty wellness plan providing life support for individuals progressing along the path of well-being.  Our well-being team includes an assembly of leading clinicians, cosmetologists, craftspersons, and curators.  I’m happy to announce that we are in the final stages of selecting our initial pilot group to launch the plan.  My evolving and intimate relationships with you have been the catalyst for a new way of thinking.  I am forever thankful.  So 2014 is indeed a year for amazing growth for us all, as we collectively embark upon uncharted territory to show the world what plastic and psychic unity looks like! 

Monte Oyd Harris, MD FACS

Robert Motherwell. Africa 4, Screen-print on paper, 1970


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