“I can’t draw, even my stick figures are disproportionate!”
The messages bombarded on us all day, every day, on repeat, say: “You must be/look your best”, “You have to stay young, at all costs”, “You need do/buy this to succeed/shine/live your best life…” blah-blah-blah. It gets discouraging if you’re not feeling at the top of your game every minute, which nobody is, ever.
I’ve often heard, “Arts and crafts are for kids…” “Don’t become an artist, so few ever get known or manage to sell anything”, “Ya, but, you can’t make a living off it…”.
The truth is, art and creative activities are accessible to everyone. Most people are already creative on a daily basis, simply by thinking outside the box or taking risks to try new things and see what happens.
When people suffer, they find ways to cope. Some face their struggles with positive behaviours that lead to growth, while others compensate in negative ways that keep them down. Often, in the case of eating disorders and body dysmorphia, the innate coping mechanisms are rigid and leave little room for creativity.
We’ve discovered that the visual arts, in this case self-portrait photography and figurative drawing, are positive coping mechanisms for negative body image. As a small women’s art collective, we don’t feel we need to be art therapists to share or teach what we’ve learned, since it’s more about practice than about psychological analysis.
It’s through active seeing (using photography and drawing the body) that our perceptions have changed.
The subtle shifts in viewpoint that happen during a photo shoot or a drawing session are the result of focusing on seeing ourselves as we are, rather than projecting how we should be. We need distance from thinking, judging and our mental projections to reveal ourselves to ourselves in more honest ways.
Perhaps this was a long-winded invitation, but it really is an invitation to move beyond your comfort zone, especially if it’s uncomfortable! Here’s more info on how to practice this process and we are always happy to accompany people online. Let us know how it’s going or how we can support your process at firstname.lastname@example.org.