The Art Therapist’s Challenge

Living with the PHILOSOPHY: Art as Therapy

From the moment he picks up his first crayon to his final moments on Earth, the artist encounters many challenges throughout his career. One of the challenges is to keep the act of making art as enjoyable as the first time he drew with his crayon. In most cases, an artist creates art for the viewer or client and not simply for enjoyment. Art therapists on the other hand, try to only create art for his or self and for art’s soothing qualities. Art therapists, that have a humanistic approach, live with the philosophy of “art as therapy.” Art therapy focuses more so on the process and enjoyment of art making rather then the quality of the result.

The art Therapist’s challenge as an artist

For an art therapist to have the philosophy of ‘art as therapy’ is great, but being an art student or artist with this philosophy can be a challenge. Having this philosophy makes it difficult to have motivation to make art that you are not inspired to or do not desire to create. In my first semester at Marywood, I had three studio art classes: 2-D studio art, 3-D studio art, and basic drawing.  I learned a lot and improved my skills greatly in those classes, but it brought on a great amount of stress and demolished any opportunity I had for free time. I thought that spending all my time emerged in art would be enjoyable, but rather it was exhausting. I felt like a machine simply creating what I was told; I wasn’t creating what I was inspired or desired to create. The challenge was turning an art assignment into a relaxing and enjoyable experience. The first and most challenging step was to forget about the grade and the result and simply enjoy the art process and focus on what I wanted to express. I am still trying to obtain this outlook of not focusing on the result, but as an art student I feel my level of my product quality is always hanging over my head.

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