A Year later

July 25, 2014

Hello all….it has been a year since I last posted on this blog, so I have decided to get back into blogging and to write about my recent work and experiences. I have got onto the MA Art Psychotherapy Course at Goldsmiths University (which I hope to start next year), and have been enjoying making art work with both patients with dementia and patients with psychiatric illnesses in my most recent jobs. These jobs have been so rewarding, but at the same time can be draining and challenging. At times I have felt so unmotivated to make art work,  as I really give my all to the people that I work with.  I know that art is my central focus, but for many others this is not the case . Some people don’t get anything from it, but others can discover art for the first time and find it deeply therapeutic. This to me is amazing, it makes it all worthwhile.

I have known since the age of 6 that art was what I wanted to do with my life, I remember feeling so excited when we did art classes- and wishing that we could paint all of the time. Art therapy appeals so much to me because I can combine this passion with my interest in people and the human condition.

Since moving down south my art work has changed, as I have no studio to work in,  sketchbooks have been both an accommodating and exciting way to record my experiences and feelings of working with troubled and unwell people. Some of the work focused on my obsession of death and mortality and the existential dilemma that we all face as human beings. I used collage and words to give a flavour of the language and confusion of working on a psychiatric ward, and also explored difficult feelings that come through bereavement and sudden trauma. The art work has helped me to clarify and understand my own feelings, I am hoping to develop these ideas and to have an exhibition some time in the future. These images are from my sketchbook that focuses on the cycle of life and death and issues of mortality.

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Some people ask why I don’t just make art work and sell it, but this just doesn’t appeal to me at the moment. I think it all comes down to the question of ‘why’ we make art work, and what we get from it. The series of portraits that I was working on last year just sort of came to a stand still, my temporary studio in my old flat was packed away and my working rhythm was disrupted. This is life I guess, and I feel that sometimes time away from art can be just as important as the art making itself. Now I am unsure about what sort of painting I want to do, I just know that my sketchbook and collage work feels instant and communicates how I feel very well.

When working with an art therapist in my current job, the emphasis in the art therapy group is not on us and our art work, but on the patients. We must be one hundred percent present in the moment for them, in this group I doodle as the patients use the space to think about how they are feeling, and what they think about the ward environment and the difficult journeys that they have taken to be in hospital. My doodles are non representative, but are expressive on a deeper level in that they reflect and the group environment and also reflect on vibes or feelings that can be transferred by other group members. An experiential course that I attended this year introduced me to the theories behind art therapy, and also allowed me to reflect on my own difficult life experiences through art making. A different aspect involved was that we discussed and analysed our images together, and that the work was made in a safe group environment. We were given themes like ‘a difficult relationship’ and ‘a reflection of the day’, through interpreting these themes we made them relevant to ourselves and spent time deeply reflecting while making the art work.

As well as gaining experience towards my career in art therapy, I have finally finished my album cover commission for Claire Boswell. It’s really exciting to see my visual work reaching a larger audience,  it has been a pleasure to creatively collaborate and to realise this image using both of our visions and ideas.

Album Cover

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