For more than a decade, I’ve curated an annual online exhibition titled The Healing Power of ART for Manhattan Arts International. Its purpose is to convey the importance of art when used by artists for self-healing, how art brings a sense of well-being to viewers, and how it raises awareness about social and environmental issues and fosters positive change.
As an additional challenge to the competition, we require the artist submit an artist’s statement, no longer than 60 words, that explains how their entries relate to the healing process.
For this article I chose three finalists whose art emerges from their experiences with physical or emotional challenges. They accomplished the difficult feat of writing succinctly about their personal issues, while injecting a positive attitude and hope.
Jane Caminos (www.janecaminos.com) is a realist painter and activist driven by a purpose to raise awareness about issues that require social change. She said in her submission: “I am stronger than the fear and pain I experience as a disabled cancer survivor. I am a narrative painter of women across all cultures whose lives contain more fear and pain than my own. By telling their stories, I become empowered to increase awareness of suffering in those who are unaware; I am free of fear in living.”
When Louise Williams (www.louisewilliamsimages.com) entered her narrative digital art entries that evoke a theatrical presence, she offered this statement: “These images remind us that no matter how dark things seem, life offers glimmers of brightness. Fantasy, romance, whimsy, and a sense of play do much to counterbalance suffering and tragedy that abound in today’s world. I created these images when I was ill, but the delight I experienced in making them made light of my illness. Their joy was therapeutic.”
Andrea Sauchelli (www.andreasauchelli.com) uses an intuitive and spontaneous painting process to produce vibrant abstract paintings. She stated, “My inspiration arises from the bold colors in the interior windows of the children’s hospital where I struggled to overcome the psychological shock of my daughter’s initial diagnosis of chronic bone disease. Hospitals are places fraught with grief, fear and loss and also bastions of hope, prayer, and healing. My art finds its roots in the former but its expression in the latter.”
Notice the distinctive qualities about the statements written by the three artists:
- They express their feelings in a clear and concise manner.
- They avoid using clichés.
- Instead of dwelling on their tragedies, they focus on the positive transformative process of art.
- Their messages are personal and unique to their creative direction, style and subject matter.
- They write in a universal, relatable, emotive language.
The 60 word or less writing exercise rewards those artists who have mastered the art of articulating about their creative purpose both visually and verbally. It’s not an easy challenge — try it as an exercise. You may also want to read How to Write Your Artist’s Statement.
Renée Phillips, The Artrepreneur Coach, helps artists attain their fullest potential in private consultations, coaching sessions, articles and e-Books found on www.Renee-Phillips.com. She is also founder/director of Manhattan Arts International www.manhattanarts.com and The Healing Power of ART & ARTISTS www.healing-power-of-art.org. Follow her on Twitter @reneephillipsny and join her on Facebook ReneePhillipsArtCoach.