Comics, community, and the acupunk

Next Friday, July 28th, I am co-facilitating The Tao of Art workshop II: Comics! with Sonny from Purple Cloud Center for Eastern Medicine. During our last workshop I was incredibly moved by the participants creating together in community. I can't wait to learn more from Sonny about Taoism, practice meditation, and see what wild or sad or funny or weird stories we can tell through words and pictures. You can learn more about Sonny here, but I have to add to his bio that I like to call him "the acupunk" based on his sweet musical taste and style. If you want to come, we would love to have you. No experience needed. Click here to reserve your spot.


Sonny the Acupunk

Comics are powerful. Last week I had the honor of leading a comics workshop at Artworks, a drop-in community artmaking space at the Harold Washington Library. Here's a little about Artworks from the library's website:

"The mission of ArtWorks is to cultivate inclusive communities through the arts and cultural exchange. Our aim is to foster the development of understanding and compassion between people, despite social and cultural differences. ArtWorks programs are based on the beliefs that the arts belong to everyone, and that collective art making practices promote respect for difference and inspire positive social change."

I thought maybe 6 or 7 people would show up for the workshop, but just before it began, ten people were around the table... then twenty.... then thirty! We pushed tables together, grabbed extra paper and pens, and started drawing! It reminded me of just how accessible comics are. You only need paper and pencil or pen. It might seem intimidating to think of how to tell a visual story, but with a little structure and support the ideas start to flow. Check out Artworks on the 8th floor of Harold Washington, every Wednesday 4:30-7:30-- free!

What I'm reading

One of my favorite things about being an art therapist is that I never stop learning. While technically a requirement of maintaining licensure, through continuing education credits, learning is really so much more than that. 

I learn from each person I meet, whether in individual therapy, a group, a community-building setting, supervision, or in my teaching practice. I learn by listening. I also learn by reading. It seems like each time I have a new client or have a meaningful conversation with a friend I am inspired to read or re-read another book, which then feeds back into my conversations and my art therapy practice. This is a photo I took today of all the books I am currently reading or re-reading. A mix of non-fiction and fiction, of comics and prose. A mix of subjects including cartooning, grief and loss, gender and sexuality, HIV/AIDS, neurodiversity, cancer, end-of-life, death, slavery, history, feminism, trauma, joy, and creativity. You know, life.

I will never stop learning. But perhaps I should impose a moratorium on buying books for a while...




Collaborative Workshop: The Tao of Art

Lorel "Sonny" Zaide is an acupuncturist, meditation teacher, and owner of Purple Cloud Center for Eastern Medicine in Rogers Park. When I met Sonny for coffee, we immediately bonded over our mutual love of Lynda Barry.  In Lynda Barry's book What It Is, she talked about overcoming the doubt and worry that blocked her from enjoying drawing by sitting with the uncertainty of not knowing whether the drawings would be "good." When she could admit that she didn't know, "that strange floating feeling of being there and not being there came back [...] To be able to stand not knowing long enough to let something alive take shape!" Sonny and I discussed the Taoist concept of "wu-wei," or effortless action, and its parallels with the flow state that can happen during artmaking. This called for collaboration!

We are offering The Tao of Art, a workshop designed to allow you the chance to express yourself through effortlessness. Click here for more information and to register.

I can't wait to see what happens, but I will try to sit with the uncertainty of not knowing. Hope to see you there!

What is art therapy?

The simplest way to put it is, art therapy is like talk therapy, plus artmaking.* Let's say you want to work on identifying problematic relationship patterns, processing grief/loss, or even coping with stress or fear due to the political climate! Have you ever felt that you can talk and talk about a problem, but nothing changes? Art therapy provides a way for you to take control of your story. You are the creator of meaning in your own life. Whether you think of yourself as an artist or not, adding a nonverbal form of expression to talking things through can increase your understanding of yourself, others, and your community. 

I field the "What is art therapy?" question nearly every time I tell someone what I do. There is no shame in not knowing! Do you have questions about what art therapy looks like? Contact me, and I'll be happy to discuss them with you.

*I'm referring to individual art therapy/counseling in this context. Art therapy can also look like activism, community-building, group work, and more!