By definition, art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination. Art is expressed through many diverse disciplines, activities and forms. One can suggest that life itself is art. We are the creators, sculptors and masterminds of our very existence both present and future.
The most profound element of artistic expression is its capacity to raise communication on levels that go beyond the spoken word. Are you familiar with the expression ‘music is the language of the soul’ or ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’?
Artistic expression allows the individual to express ideas, feelings, observations and meanings through methods that reach further than the conventional means of communication. The wonderful experience of expressing yourself in a creative and artistic manner is entirely liberating.
It is widely recognised that art can have profound therapeutic effects. The term ‘art therapy’ was introduced in 1942 by the British artist Adrian Hill, who discovered the psychological and physiological benefits of painting and drawing while recovering from tuberculosis. Art is particularly beneficial to individuals who are suffering with anxiety, stress, depression and mental health conditions. It encourages brain activity and mindful thinking.
Pablo Picasso very famously said, “Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
Engaging in artistic activities allows us to escape and ultimately achieve a state of calmness and relaxation both physically and mentally.
Think back to when you were a child. You may recall the joyous simplicity of aimlessly mixing paints and creating spontaneous images that evoked emotions of tranquillity and innocent bliss. Why must such experiences be confined to childhood memories?
Is there anything quite as pleasing as creating your own masterpiece, in your vision and without the constraints or judgments of others? A single form that truly represents you in your entirety; a process that offers comparable benefits to that of meditation.
When we are beautifully absorbed in the act of creative art, we are entering a specific state of mind and being, we are ‘in the zone’, the ‘state of flow’. Time, space and our awareness of the outside world is distorted; we are lost in the magical moment and act of expression. We are entering into the depths of our subconscious and are allowing the beneficial chemistry to run through our body.
Art helps us to develop alternate perspectives, be creative and train our brain to think outside the box. Dr Lawrence Katz, author of Keep Your Brain Alive: 83 Neurobic Exercises to Help Prevent Memory Loss and Increase Mental Fitness, found that creating art can enhance problem solving skills and creative thinking.
Art prompts you to develop your own unique solutions and stimulates your brain to grow new neurons.
As a personal performance coach, artist, designer and musician myself, I always encourage my clients to employ artistic activities in order to achieve total empowerment. Art is freedom of expression, a stress reliever, a confidence and self-esteem booster. It promotes emotional resilience, intelligence and critical thinking. A super tool available to us all at any time and at very little cost. A super tool that can be enjoyed from the comfort of our own homes.
The only question I am usually faced with is, ‘How do I know that my art is right?’
One of the wonderful elements of art, unlike other disciplines, is the knowledge that right or wrong does not apply. If you are creating art in order to benefit from its therapeutic and empowering properties, you do not need to worry about precision or skill. Your art is as beautiful, as unique, as colourful and as amazing as you are.
My clients find inspiration through many different artistic platforms, often choosing a specific art form, period or individual artist as a source of inspiration that resonates with their very own interpretation of the world.
Above all, art is fun. If you like cooking or baking, take it to the next level… be creative, treat yourself and loved ones with something different while at home. Have fun with your nearest and dearest, set the paint brushes free, roll your sleeves up and get messy. Compose a family jingle, write a cheeky colourful poem, let yourself go. Life is, after all, to be lived.
Actor Sam Neill is currently demonstrating his playful artistic creations (hyperrealism / postmodernist portraits) through his twitter account @TwoPaddocks. His portraits are a great example of personal expression, combing both humour and artistic form.
Be inspired and express yourself.