Art Therapy 2018

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While Art Therapy can be defined in many ways, most simply put, it is the application of the visual arts in a therapeutic way. It is the process of making art with an aim to express feelings, realise repressed emotions and develop personal growth. One of the beauties of art therapy is the ability for a person to express his/her feelings through any form of art, which can be particularly relieving when you are unable to express your feelings using words.

Creative expression is good for our mental health. Here’s three cool fun facts from Daybreaker:

Brain Power - When we engage in a new or complex activity our brain creates new connections between brain cells. Creating something new has actually been proven to increase psychological and emotional resilience and resistance to stress.

Feel the Love - Brain scans have shown that looking at works of art triggers a surge of dopamine in the same area of the brain that registers love. The act of simply viewing art gives us pleasure, much like falling in love.

History Heels - Studies have shown that when we learn about the history of a place of art we are more likely to feel empathy towards the way people lived in the past, and show a greater tolerance for those who are different from us.

Shaun McNiff, an art therapist, university professor, and prolific author, elaborated on the value of art for healing: “... the core process of healing through art involves the cultivation and release of the creative spirit. If we can liberate the creative process in our lives, it will always find a way to whatever needs attention and transformation. The challenge, then, is first to free our creativity and then to sustain it as a disciplined practice.”

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On Thursday December 6 One Eighty will be hosting its second annual Art Therapy Exhibition. Visit our EVENTS page for more info.

We are excited to have so many awesome young local artists in the exhibition. Come and check out works by: Louis Wayling, Tasmin Witkamp, Lucinda Jones, Guy Williment, Madi Luschwitz, Gemma Rasdall, Hunter Key, Billy Bain, Imogen Murray, Zak Mardon, Elle Brown, Hailey Robertson, Jessica Middleton, Natasha Burbury, Max Marvel, Sam Kerr, Nick Bentley, and Genevieve McConnell.

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We asked some of our artists how creativity has helped their mental health, here’s what they had to say:

“As someone who has dealt with severe bouts of depression and anxiety, art has given me a platform to overcome a lot of personal blocks in my life and has provided me with a day to day purpose. I’ve always felt that artmaking for me has been cathartic in the sense that I can express all the things that weigh on my mind and gives me a platform to communicate things I wouldn’t otherwise be vocal about.” - Billy Bain

“I use creativity as an outlet to help interpret, comprehend, and explain the way I am feeling at a certain point of time. Rather that is being portrayed in my brush strokes, marks, or tones, I am expressing myself through my work in a conceptual or blatant form. I support One Eighty because it is an excellent organisation that is not only bringing awareness of mental health to both youth and adults, but it also engaging the community, supporting positive growth from within, and giving back to our planet.” - Elle Brown

“Producing art, in whatever form it may take, helps me process my emotions and experiences. It allows me to transform my thoughts and feelings into something tangible, accept them as they are and celebrate their existence. When these moments resonate with an audience it’s an added bonus to know you’re not alone.” - Genevieve McConnell

“I’ve always turned to nature to have my back whenever I’m feeling anxious or insecure. In today’s society we are always comparing ourselves to others, and a lot of the time it’s pretty easy to feel that we aren’t good enough, but nature will never judge you. Taking photos has allowed me to see that is often the imperfections in the natural world that we find most beautiful.” - Guy Williment

"Creativity allows me to apply my point of view. When creating, building and expressing myself with art, it is my form of meditation, gifting me a strong sense of centre. Being able to share the art with the world gives me the bonus of feeling understood." - Lucinda Jones

"Art has been my light growing up, when I was younger it was a way to express my emotions that I found hard to communicate. Now it is my responsibility to take care of my creativity and nurture it. It's my guiding purpose and for my work to flow through me I need to take care of myself. When I'm not taking care of myself my practise feels stagnant and stuck. Creativity and expression through art is and will always be my light." - Madi Luschwitz

"For many years, I painted the darkness that circled within my mind. Until about 2 years ago I decided I didn’t want art to be a battleground but a interesting cabinet of curiosities on what my eating disorder entailed. My creativity helped me reconnect, again, to this earth. I painted to save my life. This is why One eighty is so important. To support each others creativity as a method of healing and to connect as a community." - Natasha Burbury

"Art has always been an outlet for me to express myself in a way that can’t be expressed in words, but also acts as a form of meditation for my mind, while my hands are busy. When I lost a loved one two years ago, art became my doctor. It became my passion and my healer." - Tasmin Witkamp

Written by Samantha Callender


Any information on this blog is not a substitute for professional advice. It is written from personal experience and research only. If you are in crisis, go to your nearest emergency room, call lifeline on 13 11 14 or dial 000.

Leanne Westlake