Tracy Thomas | December 9, 2022
It is easy to tell when we feel happy, sad, or angry. However, there are in-between emotions when we feel a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Times when we cannot find words that accurately express our feelings. It is when art steps in.
According to the American Scientist’s How Art Can Heal, “Art provides a way to communicate experiences when individuals lack verbal skills or when words are insufficient.”
Art is an integral part of humanity. Everyone at some point has an interaction with art, either as a consumer or creator. Remarkably, there has been a global surge in artists in the last few years–Atredies Bishop is one such artist.
Bishop was living with her family at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic. After a few months of boredom, a social media trend on things to do during the pandemic inspired her to pursue art.
“…I was just like you know, let me just do something fun and I was staying with my family so my mom and my little sister, and I just went to [my sister] like, let’s just grab some paint from like the dollar store and like some canvases and let’s just try painting something,” says Bishop.
Art serves many functions in society. Some participate in art for reasons such as fun and income. However, with the current emphasis on mental health in society, it is essential to highlight the relationship between art and mental health.
A Drexel University research shows art is an excellent tool for healthy mental well-being. Through experiments, the researchers found that making art significantly reduced participants’ cortisol levels. Cortisol is famously known as the stress hormone, which means creating art reduces stress.
Bishop created her first self-portrait at a difficult time. With the ongoing pandemic and lockdown, she felt isolated and lost. Although she could not find the right words to express how she felt then, through art, she could capture those feelings and share them with the world.
“This is after the initial panic of like, okay, Who am I, what I’m doing… I was in a bad place of just trying to figure out what to do in life, and I mean, I feel like everyone kind of goes through that at some point….”
Creating art is also a great way to boost self-esteem, something Bishop expressed feeling as she completed her paintings. In another Drexel University research, the researchers found that about 45 minutes of creating art increases participants’ self-efficacy (increased confidence from the ability to complete tasks).
“At first it was strange… I [felt] almost a little intimidated just because I was using materials that are, I guess you could say are cheap …but as I continued and got into it, and I laid down, you know, the like the blocking, [and] the different levels of colours here for the sky… I saw it coming together, and I realized like, oh, like this is it. I can do this,” says Bishop.
So, where do you start your relationship with art? Anywhere. Listen to the attached audio and follow @artbyatredies on TikTok and Instagram to learn more about Bishop’s art journey and process.