Art Saves • by Jenny Heid
So often when you see an artist in a movie or TV show, the portrayal is just so far from reality. The “Artist” is always some arrogant, know-it-all recluse, who gladly shuts out the world. These fictional artists seem to revel in their self imposed exile. Well, I’ve been a working professional artist for more than 15 years and I have yet to come across one of these “happy-to-be-alone” artists in real life. I guess I’ll give the moviemakers the benefit of the doubt; maybe this is how we artists appear on the surface. It’s almost laughable, because in my experience the opposite is true.
This is one of those “Which came first?” scenarios. Did the recluse become an artist? Or did the artist become a recluse? Hard to say. In my own life art has never acted as a wall between the outside world and myself. Art is my lifeline, my foot in the door, my icebreaker, my invite to the party. Let me explain ... to put it lightly, I’ve got some issues. I’m extremely agoraphobic. I have major social anxiety. I’m constantly on edge and nervous ... On more than a few occasions my anxiety has built up into a full-blown panic attack. So needless to say, a “normal life” just isn’t in the cards for me. And in short, Art has been my Savior!
My Goodwill Ambassador
It goes without saying that art holds amazing therapeutic qualities. The process itself as calming, cathartic, centering. And it’s all those things for me. But in this case I wanted to focus on the social wonders it has worked for me.
The Art I create is so close to the absolute essence of who I am. So when I take a photo of my latest work and put it on my blog or flickr the responses that I get from others in the community are so unbelievably meaningful. When somebody connects with my art they connect with me.
Social Anxiety, Agoraphobia, Panic ... these are all based on the fear of the unknown. There’s this big, bad, scary world out there and I’m terrified of what it could do to me. But art, my art, when I get to put it out there in the world like a carrier pigeon, and it comes back to me, unharmed, and with a sweet reply message tied to its foot, well, then that big bad world shrinks just a bit. And facing the scary unknown is easier, because now I know a little more about what and who is out there ... At times my art is my goodwill ambassador. And in this way, ART SAVES.
To learn more about Jenny Heid, visit everyday-is-a-holiday.blogspot.com.