Art as Healing

Been looking at various readings, courses, and books on art therapy where art, mental health, psychology, and therapy intersect. It is indeed an interesting and deep topic and you will not run out of resources online on this. Wading through some videos I stumbled upon this ted X by an artist named Domingo Zapata. What struck me is the simple idea that creating is not making something perfect, but it is letting go.

He shared an anecdote where it was his act of painting and sketching during a dark period in his life that made him get through a particular WEEK. He describes that the act made him get through a particular pain point. It was subtle but it hit me hard. It was a very real, and practical application of Art as a Healing device. It may not necessarily change your life, but it somehow helps you SURVIVE.

It’s also interesting because it was not a scientific result that “general well-being” was defined and had an increase by “x %”. It was overcoming a specific obstacle through the act of creating. Perhaps it could be measured in a better way, but the artist’s account of overcoming adversity in this way was enough to get me really interested.

In the video, Domingo urged everyone in the room to create something when they get home. It was simply to “state where you are, where you are going, and why” It was definitely a trigger for me to open up my small sketch book and start sketching away, without any expectations. He urges us to sketch moments because “life is made of memories and moments.”

The drawing I ended up with somehow encapsulated some of my thoughts and sentiments for the past week. It is amazing how something can be expressed non-verbally and yet it can capture the idea and the emotion behind it. I urge everyone to try it and see how it makes you feel and what comes out. Try to share it with others as well.

Artimer JA
Rock Bottom, 2020
Marker, Oil Pastel, Colored Pencil on Paper

P.S This experience makes me want to develop this habit of capturing and recording these inner thought objects and emotions and allow them to be expressed. It’s about taking those thoughts and moments as an opportunity to create something.

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