Just revisting some journal entries from five years ago, when I had my first solo art exhibition (which I pitched as an art as therapy exhibition). I'd set a 'ridiculous goal' of an exhibition when I was severely unwell and struggling. My main diagnoses are bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I still have permanent disabililty after treatment.
I did the painting below, More than Good Enough, during that exhibition. It expressed the mixed feelings of the exhibition process. I didn't put prices on the paintings, as I didn't want people to judge. One of the main reasons I did the exhibition is because I didn't feel good enough and that my art wasn't good enough (in fact, most of my art in the past ended up at the dump).
Extracts From my journal at that time:
Don’t want to become a pro as want to keep it an outlet for me.
I faced my fears of:
I am good enough.
I am me.
A lady said it was ‘different’ today. It is different. I am different. It’s like putting some of me up there in raw form, yet in disguise as abstract.
I shed tears doing the underpainting for the rollercoaster emotions.
(Friend) said my tears have soaked the seed that has bloomed into this beautiful me, the best me. This is the process, part of the journey, the release, the healing. (Another friend) said I am amazing – I achieved my goal.
Last 2 days painting “more than good enough” (piano keys, emojis, heart) – sad, disappointed, happy, anxious
Sold more paintings. Met people with PTSD, bipolar, borderline personality disorder, anxiety. Quite draining with the interactions so came home for a break.
People noticed today that my paintings were signed xwyz or xyz as well as X.Wyse. They all say ex-wise. I signed X.Wyse for first time when painted Rocky as a gift for (son). Rocky 2 sold today.
art as therapy
See the thing is, it doesn't really matter if the art is 'good enough', 'ugly' or 'wrong'. It's still therapeutic to do it and courageous to share it.
If I find myself comparing with others (their output, skills, sell lots etc), I remind myself that my art is my art and I do what I can. I am considering semi-professional part-time in some capacity but also aware that I am prone to burnout. Thinking perhaps tutoring or something like that.
Art as therapy is one of my passions. Art doesn't have to be 'pretty' to have value.
Disclaimer: the author of this blog is not an expert by profession and her opinions should not be taken as expert advice.