Why do you create art?
It makes me happy. My creativity affords me an outlet to explore and express my inner landscape, gives me a sense of meaning and purpose and many ways to shape it. Creativity helps me remember who I am and it gives me hope about who it is I am becoming.
Tell us about your journey to become / claim the title artist?
I’ve been a creative, expressing myself in some form or another all my life. As a child, I just liked art and I benefited from the story that I was ‘good’ at it.
As a teenager, creativity became a second language to me.
When I was about 16, a letter I wrote to a friend reporting my summer holiday shenanigans, was read by her mother who went ballistic and shamed me for it.
I began to journal using collage and symbols, cryptic verse and ‘code’ to hide my secrets in plain sight. It was also a safe way of my expressing the intensity of my emotions at the time.
I thought only ‘happy’ emotions were acceptable and that I was failing to be happy because I had a lot of dark and messy thoughts and feelings.I believed I had to hide them.
At 19, my family emigrated to America and I used creativity to cope with this massive transition and what felt like an identity crisis. This continued throughout my 20’s as I negotiated which side of the Atlantic I was going to live on. Of course, I chose Ireland in the end. It’s where my Pilgrim Soul belongs.
I’ve mostly used creativity as a container, somewhere to ‘put’ and sort through all that gets tangled up inside me. It helps me to create a distance from my thoughts and emotions and to explore new perspectives.
Even though I’ve always had an instinctive relationship with creativity, I never really considered myself an artist. I, like many, defined an artist as someone who was ‘good at drawing’, I thought of it more as an objective, technical kind of skill. Someone who could work to a brief.
My creativity has always been in service to the subjective and the expressive. I was in my late 30’s before I recognised my ability to express the subjective, as a skill and an art form. I just always thought I was ‘doing it wrong’, that I had potential but lacked any real discipline or ‘true’ talent which I also believed, was fixed and not something you develop.
In the meantime, I was studying psychotherapy and facilitation. I’ve always had a fascination with the human mind, emotions and behaviour, not to mention the concept of soul. It was in my experience as a client in therapy, that I learned to appreciate the value of creativity for recovery and transformation.
Gradually, I arrived at a place where both these skill sets, the creative and the facilitative made perfect sense together and the ‘kind of artist’ I am, finally revealed itself to me.