Art is spiritual and healing in a multitude of ways. You need not be a professional artist to benefit from expressing yourself through art. You do not need to be an art connoisseur to be moved to tears of joy from the beauty of a painting or another art form.
Art is an expression that comes from within and brings to life a vision the artist has had in their conscious or subconscious.
I was always drawn to artists growing up . I made some friends by blatantly staring in awe at their DOODLES in school. Growing up in NYC ensured I went to plenty of museums and galleries. Wow have I seen some beautiful creations. Art is everywhere in so many forms and I would like to share with you some of the healing and spiritual qualities I see expressed through art.
Below, I have named some ways art can be used as an expression of healing and spirituality and have chosen an artist that I feel demonstrates those categories. I do not mean to categorize or label these creative geniuses. In fact I find these qualities in each of them. These people are truly remarkable artists each in their own way and have all affected my life positively.
I had my most spiritual experience with art last weekend in New York City when I visited Alex Grey’s “Chapel of Sacred Mirrors Gallery” which prompted this post. My step-mom Darcy Lynn used painting as a vehicle to help her get through cancer treatments and to give her strength to heal. My good friend Alissa Christine is a wonderful visual artist and photographer and has created an inspirational art project all based on gratitude for the city she lives in. MY fellow blogger Suzie Cheel used her paintings with poetry to create a beautiful book. SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy) tells you to doodle and draw to let your creative spirit be free and not to judge what comes out. There are many ways to express yourself through art or to appreciate art that can help you grow spiritually and help you heal from within.
Alex Grey (and Allyson Grey)
A few weeks ago I “Stumbled Upon” Alex Grey’s site and viewed a video tour he gave through his Sacred Hall of Mirrors Gallery (found on the About page – I highly recommend watching it). I was so excited because it coincided with an upcoming trip back to New York City and I immediately set aside time to visit with my husband. When you first see an Alex Grey painting it is a mind boggling experience. How can someone create something with so much detail, so much intensity and so beautiful beyond words? I have never felt as if I could stare at a piece of art for hours and still not see all that was involved. I have never been moved or felt such a sense of peace by art as I was in the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors Gallery.
Alex Grey has other rooms to explore in the Gallery that highlight his and his wife Allyson’s brilliant careers as artists. The story behind Alex’s painting “Gaia” which he created upon the birth of his daughter proves there is much more to art than meets the eye. He painted “Gaia” in 1989 and after 9-11 it gained a new audience. The painting has in it the twin towers, two planes above them and two men that look very similar to George Bush and Osama Bin Laden below.
Alex Grey’s “Progress of the Soul Series” is breathtaking and you can quickly see he has a deep understanding of the human body. Alex’s five years of study in the Anatomy Department at Harvard University shows clearly and he presents the human body as I have never seen it before. Seeing his works on his website is an amazing experience in itself and seeing them in person is simply mind-blowing.
Alex’s wife, Allyson’s work in the Microcosm Gallery is unlike any other I have ever seen. The detail quickly shows there is more than meets the eye. Her description of the works (as well as a time lapse video of how it is created) is described on the Microcosm Gallery site and here is a piece of the description:
The Secret Writing in this series is comprised of twenty unpronounceable letters, corresponding to the nameless presence existent in all sacred writing, the spirit imbedded in communication that cannot be reduced to concepts. Secret writing in every culture is like a window revealing inner concepts that are manifested in the material world.
After leaving Alex & Allyson Grey’s Gallery the one question that lingered is “How in the WORLD did they create this?” Then I was overwhelmed with a sense of such deep gratitude that they have. The store at their gallery is filled with inspirational material including Alex’s video ArtMind which explores the healing potential of Sacred Art. Please check out the site and visit the gallery the next time you are in NYC. Unbelievably it is only a $5 donation for an experience you will never forget.
Darcy Lynn Campbell
Darcy Lynn, my step-mom, is a truly wonderful person and gifted artist. Darcy decided to be an artist at eleven and has been painting ever since. She discovered art as a healing modality after she was diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma and underwent radiation, chemotherapy and was exhausted but determined to get well. Darcy says:
The idea behind art as a healing force came to me only after a brush with death and cancer. I find art can be a way of solving problems and understanding difficult issues or events in one’s life.
Darcy tells her story in her book “Myself Resolved” and through her DVD “Healing Through Art”. Both can be found at her site and are truly inspirational. Darcy describes the significance of the purple seals:
“The Purple Seal symbolizes hope and the gift of life. It is derived from my paintings Seals I and Seals II, in the “Lymphoma Series.” I saw this image while on oxygen in the Intensive Care Unit, after life-saving surgery from a liquid tumor, which nearly drowned me.”
The above is part of Darcy’s Healing Art Series. Her site also offers paintings in the following categoreis: Portraits, Nature, Nudes and Europe and Beyond. Please visit Darcy’s site to see more of her wonderful work.
Alissa was one of the first people I met when I started college at Penn State and I frequently call her my guardian angel. She introduced me to my husband over 13 years ago and introduced me to “The Secret” which began my healing journey over 2 years ago.
Alissa has been a talented visual artist since I have known her and currently is using her talents for her special photo documentary “I Love Miami 365” which features a photo she takes every day (Yes, EVERY DAY) of something she loves in Miami. I must admit I told her she was crazy when she talked about beginning this because I said “you love to travel – you mean to tell me you are STAYING in Miami for 365 days — can’t you take some pictures in advance?!” Thankfully Alissa stuck with her vision and is in the home-stretch of this beautiful project which she will turn into a book upon completion. Alissa is paying gratitude for where she lives EVERY single day for a year and creating gorgeous artwork in the process.
de:lite is a journey through the marvelous world of creative imagery. This series of artwork was inspired into formation by the energetic vibrations of light and music through experimentation with organic abstract photography. The artist, Alissa Christine, fuses photography of luminosity and digital graphic enhancements to achieve a stylized celebration of color, light and form. Her myriad of talents and emotional intimacy involved in the creation of each image results in a saturation of your senses.
Alissa is a versatile photographer and artist and has been one of my closest friends for 20 years now. Check out her I love Miami 365 Project for inspiration and to marvel at how a person’s dedication to give gratitude to her city for 365 days has created such a beautiful project.
Suzie, a fellow blogger at Abundance Highway and at Suzie Cheel: Art and Beyond is a wonderful person and has become a friend. She is a gifted artist and has many works shown on her site “Suzie Cheel: Art and Beyond“. Suzie has created scarves, quilts and paintings that are beautiful.
Her latest project was one born years ago and recently manifested. It combines her gifts of writing and painting to create a beautiful book, “Emergings” which is mesmerizing.
“Emergings, a meditation on the emotions of change, combines Suzie’s own artworks with an extended poem she wrote at a time of great personal change some 20 years ago.”
The poem/words fit perfectly with the pictures and can each be read separately or strung together. It is beautiful to see the way Suzie combines two art forms into one gorgeous medium that celebrates painting and poetry. It was a gift to read Suzie’s book and I believe it would make a perfect gift for others.
Susan Kennedy (SARK)
I wrote about SARK for my Heroes of Healing Group Writing Project. She was/is one of my heroes and I consider her work to be one of the catalysts in my healing myself. She is always encouraging being free with your creativity; art, writing and any other artistic modality you can think of. Don’t judge — just be. The most amazing things come out of you when you are able to “let go” of the expectations of how “it should be”. Art is something everyone can use as a creative expression. The only pressure to create a masterpiece comes from within yourself — if you let that go – you can begin to appreciate the doodles, the designs that come out when you are just “letting go”. SARK is a wonderful artist in so many ways and her work is hugely inspirational. She could also fall into the Healing category as she used art and writing to help her to heal the emotional trauma of incest.
I feel her writing on being an artist sums up her thoughts on art better than I ever could!
These artists show you can use art to enhance spirituality, as a healing tool, show gratitude, as a combination of talents or to simply express creativity. I hope you have enjoyed my brief summaries of these artists that have all touched my life and take the time to explore their works some more.
How about you? Which art/artists move you? How else can art be helpful spiritually or in healing? Have you had any personal experiences with art that you want to share? Please leave comments to share your experiences or any artists or art works that move or heal you. If you are a blogger, feel free to name your top inspirational artists and send me the link – I would love to read about how artists have helped others to heal or grow spiritually.