In the Fall semester of 2021, I had taken the class “Approaches in Art Therapy” in accordance to my major, and learned several different approaches that existed within the profession. One of the art therapy approaches that caught my attention was the psychoanalytic approach, specifically regarding the Jungian principles. The Korean band, BTS, played with Jungian themes in their Map of the Soul series; seeing as I was fan and listened to the album series, I was genuinely curious to learn more regarding Jung’s contributions to psychoanalysis. As that class came to an end, I did a lot of research regarding Carl Jung’s ideas of the unconscious and conscious mind, the theory of archetypes, and the individuation process.
Without delving too much into Carl Jung, I did want to bring up the concept of “The Shadow” the YouTube channel Academy of Ideas has a great video that simplifies some of Jung’s ideas of the psyche, amongst other things. To loosely define what the “shadow” is, it is the darkest parts of our personality that we hide away from the world, whether because the traits were ridiculed or punished for. A favorite example in literary fiction is the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson; the amicable Dr. Henry Jekyll creates a serum that would “separate” the aspects of himself that he despises, which creates the existence of his alter ego Edward Hyde, a malevolent creature that acts purely on desire.
For my ceramics class, I had decided to make abstract sculptures instead of focusing on realism, especially since I wanted to play with the idea of “the Shadow”. Those aspects of the personality are tucked away in darkest depths of our psyche, as if they are like the prisoners of Tartarus from Greek mythology. It can be frightening for a person to come to terms with “the Shadow” for the sake of personal development, so what better way to illustrate “the Shadow” as monsters. A lot of the inspiration behind the forms of these specific pieces come from the Blotlings from Epic Mickey and the Phantoms from Twisted Wonderland. The basic idea was to come up with creatures so vile and unsightly that convey how a person may view a part of themselves, finding it difficult to come to terms and grow.