Friday, April 13, 2012

Are you free or are you tied up?

"Tied Up" mixed media on paper
My dear friend Kerri runs an art group for therapists- it's basically where a couple of us from our grad school cohort meet at her office and take a couple hours to chat about our lives, being a therapist, and whatever else we want while we make art. Kerri always has a prompt of some sort to get us going, and provides the materials for it, too (because, you know, she's awesome). We usually end up doing some sort of art therapy type thing- we try to incorporate what we're thinking and feeling, and what's been occupying our energy at the time, thus helping to release that energy into our art and out of our brains and bodies.

The prompt this time was not a topic, but a method of creating - she has a cup full of strips of paper that say things like "write," "draw," "paint," "3-D," "pattern," "text," "photo," etc., and you have to do something using that method, and once you're done you pick another one at random and add that to your photo. The topic, in this case, was completely open-ended.

I did a piece about what was going on in my life and what had been on my mind. I had also been listening to Miike Snow in anticipation of seeing him live the following day (great show) and the song that was stuck in my head- "Animal," has a line that just happened to fit the theme perfectly. I'm not going to tell you what it's about because really, that's none 'o yo dayyyy-umn business, so let your imagination go wild.

What I really like about this activity and, in this case, the result of it, is that I'm not able to really plan my piece out very accurately, because I might have a great idea using paint and inevitably, I pull "write," out of the cup so then I'm stuck having to write something out or make a pattern or do whatever it says. I actually think it turned out well, but the evolution and end point of the piece was a surprise to me. It's almost like the art itself, paired with my own thoughts and feelings, take me on a journey- like it has something to show me rather than me controlling where it goes.

P.S. If anyone ever tries an art therapy kind of technique I talk about here and feel like sharing it, I'd love to see it and/or post it on the blog. Same goes for any non-prompted piece of art you've done and you're proud of... or not proud of for that matter!!


  1. I just listened to the song and can see the influence. Thanks for sharing this. It makes me want to try this method of art therapy.

    1. Yeah, its pretty fun. I'm curious, can you tell what it's about?

  2. I love this. Very evocative.