“Art is essentially the affirmation, the blessing, and the deification of existence.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
According to the American Art Therapy Association, “Art therapy is the therapeutic use of art making… is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.”
Thus, we can say that art therapy’s primary goal is healing. And that essential purpose applies to other forms of creative expression, such as dance, music, drama, or writing.
As a visual artist, I have had direct experiences with the therapeutic value of arts. Through my art, I have been able to express my thoughts and feelings I couldn’t otherwise. It becomes a cathartic means for me to release what creates imbalance in my mind and body.
Here are some thoughts by artists connecting the creative act with healing and inner transformation:
“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ~ Pablo Picasso
“I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning. Every day I find something creative to do with my life.” ~ Miles Davis
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh
“Painting has to get back to its original goal, examining the inner lives of human beings.” ~ Pierre Bonnard
“Art enables us to find ourselves and to lose ourselves at the same time.” ~ Thomas Merton
“Art opens the closets, airs out the cellars and attics. It brings healing.” ~ Julia Cameron