June 30, 2013

When Making Art Creates Pain. ~ Marita Veronica

If the purpose of art is to join people together, what if the mere thought of creating art no longer makes you feel safe? 

Usually the trauma comes first, and then the art is created.

Van Gogh received a letter of rejection, dismembered his ear, and then documented the situation with Self-Portrait With Bandaged Ear

Art has been used for centuries as a modality and outlet for healing. Art therapy is used in mental wards, prisons, and schools.

In Rome, citizens resort to vandalizing public property with graffiti to take out their frustration and not use violence against other humans.

So if the purpose of art is to join people together as a whole society, what if the mere thought of creating art no longer makes you feel safe?

I have a good friend who studied art in college and co-created projects with her artist/drug dealer boyfriend. It’s been years since the pair have even been in the same room together, but when it comes to even drawing a flower, her hand freezes. She cannot disassociate creating art from the trauma of what happened in her relationship. There is a fear that if she creates a piece of art or does a project, she will be put in danger no matter what the size of it is. Her passion is art but when the relationship ended, so did her desire to explore her creativity.

We live in a society where our private lives become public knowledge through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. A Tumblr page can be used display one’s interests. These platforms have also been used to spread negativity and bash someone and/or their art. Artists are bullied and made to feel inferior. 

It’s one thing if you’re Chris Ofili and you did the very controversial The Holy Virgin Mary; you can expect protesters at your door. I know someone who was just painting, doing visual art, and photographing about their life. This person all of a sudden started receiving cryptic threats that weren’t all that necessary.

Interestingly, these individuals responsible were standing up for gay and racial rights, war crimes, and women’s issues but were ganging up on this one person. The thought of really doing anything artistic at all made them feel extremely vulnerable.

The impacted stress and shock that one can experience can linger on for days, weeks, and sometimes years.

Some people move past it quickly and others do not. Sometimes just one negative moment and/or comment can set people back for long periods of time. If you make money through your art, stopping all together can be detrimental to your bank account and your health.

If you feel hesitant in expressing yourself, here are five steps to deal with the situation: 

1) Step Back: 

If your first reaction to the thought of making art is a negative one, then don’t do it. Take a time out from creating. Only you know what is best for you. Take as much time as you need. Allow yourself to really feel the emotions that you need to and work through them.

2) Cut cords and forgive:

Upon the incident, sit in a cord cutting meditation thinking of those involved. Cut the energetic cord and forgive. Most likely the perpetrator is not all that happy of a person. Pray for their happiness too.

3) Find a safe space:

When, and only when you feel ready, choose an environment that you feel at ease to start the creative process. That can include a small intimate group of loved ones or setting up a spot in your home by yourself. If you think you need professional help to get back into the groove, you can contact an art therapist. Google key words such as: art therapist, art therapy, art psychotherapy, psychotherapy through art and your city.

4) Choose a medium:

There is a reason why pre-drawn-out coloring books and crayons are the go-to project in psych wards; there’s a sense of security in just having to choose the colors. Start small – start with stick figures if you have to. Work your way slowly back into your original comfort zone.

5) Prepare for exposure:

You don’t have to share any of your work with anyone, and that’s really okay. When making art for healing purposes, use it just as that — for healing yourself.

If you do decide to put your pieces on display, then make sure you have a positive, loving, and grounded support network of friends and family that love no matter what you put out there. If you want to publicly display your pieces, whether on the international level or just in your home town, prepare that negative backlash might come with the territory of putting yourself out there. You still have the option of uploading your craft to your website, Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram feeds.



Marita Veronica combines intuition with her creativity upon starting and completing projects. Marita loves to take advantage of whatever creative outlet she can: photography, art, poetry, pole dancing, etc.. Follow her on Instagram.




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Assistant Ed.: Stephanie S/Ed: Bryonie Wise

{Photo: via Vada on Pinterest}

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