MentalHealthMondays

Art Therapy

Art is often used as a way of therapy for me. Whether it is graphic design or fine arts, I often use both mediums as a way to escape the world. There are no rules to art. Everything is literally art or can be in some way, shape, or form. With that freedom to do whatever it is I want or to show what ever image I would like of my own, I use art as a way to release negative energy away from me. You know how some people use writing as a way to release negative energy and then burn the paper in order to officially destroy that negativity, well I do the same with art specifically painting…..minus burning the canvas. Me burning my canvases would be heartbreaking for me lol. Anytime I am going through a bad spell or period in my life, I just paint what is in my head whether it makes sense to anyone or not. One specific way I have used art as a source of therapy is through art pieces I create weekly called Music Blocks.

Music Blocks are these 8×8 inch or 4×6 inch mixed media art pieces created onto illustration boards. I was introduced to this technique of fine art while attending the University of South Carolina – Upstate in Spartanburg, South Carolina. My art professor wanted me and my classmates to focus on layering, in which that is the main part of the design process for these particular pieces. Well after my third Music Block, I realized not only could I make money from them and they make great gifts for family and friends during the holidays, but I could also turn this process into my own art regimen, sort of like a self-care regimen in an artistic way.

My goal everyday is to wake up and create an art piece as soon as I open my eyes and get out of bed. Sometimes I fulfill this and sometimes I do not depending on whether I have to work my 9-5 job along with running DE that day as well. Sometimes I may do all three by waking up extra early just to create a painting and then heading on to work afterwards. Then again, there may be days where I take time out to myself because rest is just as important as getting work done as well.

These art pieces are treated like a therapy session through the constant layering process of each one. I always start off with a thin layer of either acrylic or gouache (watercolor paint). Then I draw whatever person or figure I’m interested in at the time onto the first layer once it is dry. Now my art subjects are always based on what music I am listening to at the moment, that is why they are called Music Blocks. This should tell you that my therapy is a lot different from a typical therapy session. When a person hears the word therapy, they often think of the word ‘quiet’ as well. My art therapy sessions are the complete opposite. I am one of those people who can not really focus when things are 100% quiet. I need some sort of a beat banging in the background or someone playing music to keep me focused while working often, especially for this particular series. What type of music I am listening to during those moments also determine what type of mood I am in. For example, the Block shown below features Baltimore, MD singer Jasmine Sullivan. Well at the time of this painting, I was upset well more like frustrated due to financial issues that we all go through from time to time , and one song that always stuck out to me during troubling money times for me is ‘Silver Lining’. Well while I was upset and agitated, I ended up taking my frustrations out with this art piece. Mixing in the listening of the music with the constant layering is just a therapeutic feeling for me. I can easily clear my mind and just follow the stroke of my brushes to the music, ultimately ending up in my own little world while creating.

Jazmine Sullivan

Check out more of my pieces from previous therapy sessions at this link: http://www.deluxds.bigcartel.com.

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11 thoughts on “Art Therapy

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