What is Art Therapy?

People have turned to the creative arts as a means of therapy for centuries. Art therapy is a field that originated from the catharsis of artistic expression, and licensed art therapists help clients around the world treat a variety of mental illnesses and personal struggles with creative projects.

 

Art therapy can be used in virtually any environment with clients ranging from pre-school children to senior citizens. Those who cannot articulate themselves clearly due to developmental disorders such as autism may benefit from art therapy as it gives them a voice that would otherwise go unheard.

 

With the help of a professional therapist, clients who undergo art therapy are able to learn more about themselves through their nonverbal expression; art therapists decipher symbols, colors, patterns and metaphors that arise through the creative process, all while helping clients relieve stress and find comfort in their artwork.

 

Art Therapy in Action

There are types of art therapy that can treat depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. Therapists will typically choose exercises and mediums based on a client’s age, personality and symptoms.

 

Journaling is a common art therapy prescribed for people struggling with depression or anxiety; children and adolescents who may not be as capable of identifying and expressing their feelings might be prompted to draw or paint their emotions instead.

 

For children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sensory art therapy that utilizes finger paints, kinetic sand, clay, and other tactile mediums can provide emotional release and serve as a positive outlet to reduce maladaptive behaviors.

 

Benefits of Art Therapy

It is not always feasible or comfortable for people to express how they’re feeling. Sometimes, an individual may not even understand the depth of their own emotions until they are given the opportunity to explore them creatively. Through art therapy, people can develop healthy coping skills while learning more about themselves, who they are and how their problems “color” their lives.

 

Art therapy can build confidence, reduce stress and improve behavior. By exploring a new way of expressing one’s thoughts and feelings, art therapy offers the opportunity to delve deeper into the psyche and uncover repressed thoughts and feelings that may be causing trouble in the present.

 

Finally, art therapy is a valuable tool that can be used in conjunction with traditional psychotherapy. By exploring a client’s creative output, therapists can find new ways to address their problems using therapeutic models such as talk therapy and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).

Why Study Art?

Student who intend to study art often get flack from well-meaning loved ones who believe that the student won’t be able to make a living if he/ she studies art. However, the ability to make a living as an artist has changed drastically, in part, due to advances in technology. Further, the study of art develops skills aside from the obvious, art-related ones. Here’s a look why the arts can actually lead to better careers.

 

Technology Has Opened Up New Jobs

The advancements in technology have created a new demand for artists trained in digital technologies. After all, it was well-trained artists who created the fantastical dragons on shows like “Game of Thrones” or the magic of “Harry Potter.” Studying art, including the new technologies that make that art possible, opens up new job opportunities that have never existed before.

In order to work in these industries, these digital-savvy artists usually study both traditional art techniques, like drawing and old painting. They also learn the principles of design and art marketing. Finally, they become well-versed in digital tools, like Adobe Photoshop, Maya, Lightwave and Adobe After Effects.

 

Develop Cultural Awareness

A design career offers a simple example of how culture and art studies converge. Many challenges in the workplace arise from a lack of cultural awareness. Studying art, art history and languages develops the cultural awareness necessary to work in the art and design fields.

 

Transferable Skills

The study of art doesn’t just develop the ability to draw or sculpt beautiful things. It develops other skills, like creative thinking, the ability to work independently and eye-hand coordination. Aside from this, university studies done by James Catterall, a professor and researcher at the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies demonstrate that students who have been exposed to the arts and who have been involved in the arts do better in school.

 

 

These days, studying the arts helps students develop many practical skills that bring value to the workplace. Additionally, art studies teach students about the cultures and eras from which a piece of art arose. Finally, technology has changed pretty much every aspect of the workplace, including animation, media, and other arts-related jobs. Having a foundation in the arts opens up job possibilities that heretofore didn’t exist.

Spotlight: Switzerland’s New Platform 10 Art District

Every year in Basel, Switzerland, Art Basel presents an exhibition featuring high end works by local artists. This yearly exhibition has turned Switzerland into more than just a blip on the map in the world of contemporary art.

 

This event brings together hipsters with art curators and gallery owners to create a community of passionate and dedicated artists. Due to its overwhelming popularity, there are now two competing art shows held in Hong Kong and Miami Beach.

 

Art has always been a significant part of the culture in Switzerland. Since Art Basel was launched, the fine arts have been treasured throughout the country. As a result. Switzerland boasts world-famous art museums. Some of these museums include:

 

  • Bern’s Zentrum Paul Klee Museum
  • Zurich’s Kunsthaus
  • Lucerne’s Rosengart Collection

 

Currently, under construction, Plateforme 10, set to be the largest museum in Switzerland, will be the next-door neighbor of the Lausanne train station. As the center of the city, it will be a prime spot for tourists to visit.

 

Once it is open for business, the Plateforme 10 is poised to set the city’s definition of an art district. It will hold a total of three museums on its property. These three museums are currently spaced out around the city. The Plateforme 10 will be the new home of:

 

  • Musee Cantonal des Beaux-Arts
  • Musee de l’Elysee
  • Museum of Contemporary Design And Applied Arts

 

In total, the three museums will come together to cover a campus stretching 237,000 feet. As a result, all three museums will have more space in which to display their exhibits.

 

To many, Lausanne is the perfect place for this new museum to open. The city is known as the world’s most free-spirited. As the Canton of Vaud capital, Lausanne borders the French Alps and Switzerland’s famous Lake Geneva. The city exudes the vibes of a young generation. As an artistic hub, it embraces a generation that thrives on their creative spirit.

 

Any art lover owes it to him or herself to plan a trip to Switzerland The Platform 10 District is not to be missed. It is an experience that visitors will never forget.

The Most Famous Portrait Paintings

Some of the world’s most famous artists are more commonly known for their detailed portraits of human subjects. Portrait paintings provide the artist with the opportunity to depict a story within the subject’s expressions. Although the meaning behind the portrait may not always be apparent, what makes most of them famous is the open interpretation of the emotions and inner thoughts of the subject. Here are some of history’s most recognizable faces

 

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Not surprisingly, the Louvre’s invaluable portrait would make this list. Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of a merchant’s wife, Lisa Gherardini, is perceived as the most famous piece of art in history. Originally commissioned by the merchant as a gift for his consort, da Vinci ended up keeping the Mona Lisa for the remainder of his life. When is passed away in 1519, the painting then fell into place in various French Palaces, including that of Napoleon Bonaparte, until finding it’s permanent resting place in the Louvre.  

 

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer was one of the most well-known artists of his time. The painting is often referred to as the “Dutch Mona Lisa” appearing a little more than 100 years after Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece. One of the most enticing aspects of the painting is that very little is known about the model that is depicted. Viewers are fascinated with the mystery and like to speculate a story behind Vermeer’s subject. Modern-day entertainment has since written novels and movies about the peculiar girl.    

 

Le Rêve (The Dream) by Pablo Picasso

Known for his modern cubism style of painting, Pablo Picasso has a unique style that has made him one of the most famous painters in history. Le Rêve is a portrait of his 22-year old mistress at the time, Marie-Thérèse Walter. Picasso often painted her using bright colors, evoking pleasant emotions in the interpretation of their relationship. Picasso was not one to shy away from expressing emotions in his work that others would not be inclined to. 

 

American Gothic by Grant Wood 

Since it was painted in 1930, the relationship of the subjects of Wood’s most famous work has been discussed by art lovers across the world. In fact, the man who modeled for the painting is Wood’s dentist, and the woman is his sister. The two had an unusual connection for portrait subjects in that they were strangers to one another. Grant Wood was intentional about choosing subjects that he could imagine living in the Dribble House in Iowa, which served as his inspiration for the painting. 

Five of the Most Controversial Pieces of Art

Throughout the years, there are many pieces of art that have sparked conversation. But, some pieces of art make a bigger impression and cause controversy. Here are five pieces of artwork that have been considered scandalous.

 

Guernica by Pablo Picasso

This painting by Picasso is mural-sized, at 11 feet 5 inches tall and 25 feet 6 inches wide. The piece of art depicts the 1937 massacre of the Basque village of Guernica. The painting is controversial for political reasons, as it was a stand against the fascist regimes of Spain and Germany at the time. Picasso did not even want the painting displayed in France until peace had been restored to the country.

 

Fountain by Marcel Duchamp

The high point of the Dada movement, Marcel Duchamp submitted this piece to The Society of Independent Artists and was rejected, even though the rules of the exhibition stipulated all pieces be accepted. The piece was a standard urinal turned on its side, with “R.Mutt” written on it. The piece sparked conversations about what art was and refocused art’s purpose from physical practice to intellectual interpretation.

 

Myra by Marcus Harvey

Myra Hindley was one part of the duo responsible for the Moors murders. The portrait of her is made up of children’s handprints. When it was displayed at the Royal Academy of Art in London in 1997, protesters threw eggs and ink at the painting. Hindley herself even wrote to organizers of the exhibition, asking them to remove the painting because of the pain it would cause to the families of the victims.

 

Madame X by John Singer Sargent

Though the painting appears tame compared to plenty of artwork, this piece was the source of big controversy when it was displayed. The painting’s subject, Virginie Amelie Avegno Gautreau, was an infamous adulterer and her pose and dress offended the French sensibility. It was said that the woman’s pose was vulgar, arrogant and self-centered. The painting originally featured the strap of Gautreau’s dress slipping off her shoulder but was later repainted so the strap was in place.

 

The Death of Marat by Jacques Louis David

This painting depicts the murder of French revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat. Marat was stabbed by Charlotte Corday who felt he was partly responsible for the more radical course the revolution had taken. The painting was viewed as controversial because it depicts Marat as a martyr for the French Revolution.