“In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
“Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.” Heraclitus
“You’ve achieved success in your field when you don’t know whether what you’re doing is work or play.” Warren Beatty
As an art therapist, art-making is more than just a function of my job title or what I do for work. Art-making is my method of interacting with and making sense of the world around me. I use the creative process deliberately and intentionally to both understand the self and to transmute existential angst (which we all experience to some degree or another) into a visual representation of both inner and outer worlds. The creative process is my outlet and whatever is yielded as a result of the process is a static representation of the self in relation to the whole.
The dynamism of the creative process comes into play when one considers how each piece created (each product) is a reflection of universal patterns and social constructs and serves to bridge the gap between self and other by encouraging engaging interaction. The ongoing conversation and dialogue that take place as a result of the creative process is the method by which focus on self shifts to focus on connecting to and making sense of the world; It is in this way art-making is therapeutic, the creative process is transformative, and engaging with others is dynamic.
I don’t just “practice what I preach”, I do my best to live and breathe that in which I most believe: the creative process. (In fact, I don’t “preach” at all, as that’s just not really my style.) I prefer a collaborative exchange of ideas shared between similarly-minded individuals my approach to art-making is to emphasize process (how the materials are used) over product (what the finished product looks like). That means I put more of an emphasis on the cathartic, therapeutic & transformative potential of the creative process than I do the end result. I am not so much concerned with having a specific idea before I start working on something and I do my best to try not to control the outcome.
If I am focused on the end result, on trying to make my creation look a specific way or to fulfill some unmet, undetermined, unattainable list of expectations I have, I find I act counterintuitively, which undermine the creative process altogether. By working against the process and not allowing things to unfold naturally, by trying to control the outcome or meet some idealized image of perfection, the process of art creation can be a source of stress and dissatisfaction.
The majority of the time I am working (my acculturated, “grown-up” word for play when it comes to the creative process), I listen to music. On occasion, I’ll listen to podcasts or an audiobook or work in silence, depending on my mood. Maybe, one day, I’ll do a long-winded post about the types of things that captivate my mind whilst I’m focusing on my creative process or the myriad ways in which music has the potential to transform, alter and influence the evolution of my process.
In sum, my creative process is essentially play. I have amassed a rather large assortment of art materials and I have interests that run the full gamut of the Expressive Therapies Continuum (ETC). The materials I choose to work with and and the manner of working with said materials are determined spontaneously. The use of the creative process in such a manner allows me to integrate my creative self with the analytical/ logical self.
This a small sampling of my personal artwork.