• Jeff Barnes

A Beginner's Guide to Art as Communication

Updated: Jan 28

Have you ever had an experience where you were talking to someone, trying to convey the things you were feeling, but couldn't quite find the words to describe them?



If you answered yes, then it might be worthwhile to explore different forms of art as an alternative style of communication. Based on a class College of Hope offers, "Art as Communication", here are a few different benefits of expressing those feelings in a more descriptive way.


1. Remembering past events in a different light.


The artist of the picture above quoted “At first, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to draw. But then I remembered a day that I hadn’t thought about in a really long time, just some random day my ex and I had spent painting on the patio of our condo. Trying to be as descriptive as I could I found that a lot of specifics about that day just laid out on the paper in front of me. From the different paintings we had created, to the grey couch inside of the window to the left, it was really amazing to get to recreate that day to the best of my ability”. Sometimes taking things and putting them under a different lens allows you to better come to terms with the events of your past and work through them in a healthier, more constructive way.




2. Taking traumatic experiences and dissecting them in a safe environment.


For this piece of art that was created, the artist shared that the experience they were painting was the day that they found out someone very close to them had taken their own life. Asking questions such as, “Why were those specific colors chosen to represent this experience?” and “What does *this* specific detail mean to you, and why did you choose to include it” helped the artist revisit that emotional day and dig deeper into their feelings around it internally, as opposed to seeking an outside perspective.




3. Letting go of the things that hurt you.


One really important part of the process of moving on to bigger and better things in life is letting go of what hurt you in the past. Through the use of art, it can be easier to come to terms with those facts and start the process of moving forward. This artist said, "At first my plan for this piece was to show how earlier in my life I had lost everything, shown by the deep black surrounding me and in my mind and soul. I didn't really feel like that was going to be enough though so I decided to illustrate the four major events in my life when I had felt the most lost: the two most influential times being when my mom had her first bipolar episode, and the day I came out to my parents. Adding these parts to my art project really helped in alleviating some of the pent up fear and aggression toward those days in my life, now accepting that those are a part of my past and beginning to let go of those parts of my life that were still raw with pain".


There are plenty more benefits to exploring your past experiences through art, as this list isn't a complete rundown. If you'd like, email collegeofhope@housinghope.org and let us know how Art as Communication has helped you!


If you're interested in possibly taking the class and exploring more of these benefits and art mediums with guidance from our instructor, keep an eye on the College of Hope calendar as we move into Spring of next year!

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