These days, we hear the term ‘art therapy’ a lot more frequently than we used to. With the benefits of balanced living now a regular topic in the media, alternative sources of wellbeing are being more widely shared and debated. Yet art therapy is by no means new.
Despite officially ‘beginning’ in the mid twentieth century, the roots of art therapy actually date back to the late 1700s. During this time, a new ‘moral treatments’ were explored as increasingly humane ways to treat patients with mental health issues. Whilst these mainly focused on domesticated tasks, such as gardening and cooking, later this expanded to include hobbies: sewing or drawing, during which individuals and patients were encouraged to use the expressive capacity of making art to communicate their emotions.
Nowadays, art therapy is a well-known, tried and tested therapeutic tool, used within mental health care, prisons, schools and other medical environments... read on to find out more, plus keep both yourselves and the kids entertained, by downloading one of our limited series of kids activity packs:
AN INTRODUCTION TO ART THERAPY
What is art therapy?
Art therapy focuses on self expression as a therapeutic technique. Emotions and thoughts are explored through a variety of ways, including painting, drawing, colouring and modelling. In this way, art therapy involves three factors: the therapist, the client, and the art itself. Through self-expression, art therapists believe, people are able to feel more connected to the world around them.
Art therapy can help us work through traumatic experiences, tackle high levels of stress, develop memory and interpersonal skills and create a sense of fulfilment and personal pride, as well as giving sufferers from serious illnesses some relief or escapism.
Why is Art Therapy important to us?
Here at the Affordable Art Fair, we're huge believers in the powerful capacity of art to not only influence your mood, but transform lives. Since Will Ramsay held the first fair, way back in 1999, we have raised £1.3m globally for charitable causes including art therapy charities, such as the Sovereign Art Foundation in Hong Kong, Imperial Health Charity in the UK and The Art Therapy Project in New York, to spread the word about the vital work that these organisations do. Whether it’s raising awareness of their causes, raising money at our Private Views or running workshops at our fairs alongside these partners; heading to an Affordable Art Fair is a great way to find out more about the impact art can have on the lives of many.
But it’s not just about working with charities. Furthermore, we also believe that surrounding yourself with art, whether it is created by you or an artist, is a wonderful way to influence your mood. We certainly have experienced the calming, invigorating, inspiring and empowering effects that art can have on the viewer or collector. Our fairs and online marketplace are filled with a varied smorgasbord of prints, photographs, sculptures or paintings that through their use of colour, texture, or subject matter, embody a wonderful, almost healing quality.
Art to soothe, inspire and invigorate
Take the intricate, multi-layered works of Elisabeth Lecourt, who uses folded vintage maps to create her beautiful dresses, shirts and kimonos. As Lecourt describes, her practice is all about 'trying to make something beautiful and precious and this is the thread that runs through my work’. Works such as these have an intense materiality which can prove soothing and captivating in equal measure, as the viewer imagines the steady, methodical process that each piece involves.
Other artists rely on colour to create certain moods. Corinne Natel’s abstract and fluid colours (above) spread across the paper as if in water; her deep, enriching tones creating a soothing, almost mesmerising effect. Or how about the uplifting Happy Happy by Dan Baldwin, an abstract exercise in colour and form, which the artist self-proclaims was inspired by the idea of art as a therapy - we agree that this piece is sure to brighten the mood of any room.
Get involved at Home
Keep your little creative ones entertained by downloading our kids activity packs - pencils at the ready!
On a weekly basis, we’ll be releasing a new Kid's Activity Pack to help inspire some DIY art school sessions. So, whether there’s a mini-master in your family ranks or it’s more about ‘abstract expressionism’, we hope you enjoy getting hands-on in a moment of creative immersion at home. Alternatively, for some entertainment of the retail-kind, why not browse 1,000s of affordable artworks on our online marketplace.