© Bear the Artist
“My Name is Claire London – Bear The Artist.
In 2008 I had a stem cell transplant at the UCH hospital in London as a result of having reoccurring Hodgkins lymphoma, having previously being in remission for 10 years.
During my treatment I was offered spiritual healing. In the sessions, I experienced interesting, positive results of healing visions.
As an artist I knew I had to share this through my art. I started painting and researching into art and healing. As I painted, I realised my vision became a creative story to heal myself, it gave me hope, and restored my ‘brokenness’.
© Bear the Artist
Did art really heal me?
A controversial question, I know, but the more I painted, the more I believed that it did. I wanted to explore my art, and the part it has played throughout my life. It has not only helped me through hard times, it has also helped me make sense of healing, and the mystical powers the universe has to offer.
I felt more and more connected to my works and I could feel there was more than just a healing process going on. It felt like a quest, or a kind of magic, showing me a different way to look at healing through my art.
This was a very exciting time for me and during my works I would encounter some amazing stories of magic and wonder.
I travelled right back to my childhood – it wasn’t until I started to piece this exhibition together that new stories appeared and connected with the old.
Tall dark shadow people standing in doorways, the spider lady with long red painted nails, being sucked into a large metal vacuum-like structure and seeing bird like angels looking down at me…
…meeting spirit guides, floating across open plains, running with wild horses and being carried by monks into a stone temple – some of my visions which play a big part in my ability to understand more about spiritual healing through art, and my amazing journey through life.
I would very much like to share with you some of my stories, my art and how they help me find a way to see spiritual connections and create what I hope to be an exciting new body of work.
Thanks for taking the time to check out my story and artwork.”
Sarah Tansey is an artist, writer, burlesque art model and cabaret dancer. She’s also a single mum to an eighteen year old, who found herself in the clutches of paranoid schizophrenia when her son was just nine months old. Waiting until he was an adult to tell her story, Sarah has published a short, cutting, insight into her life at the time.
The book is illustrated with Sarah’s paintings, and she tells me, “The artwork in the book is all mine – I use it as part of my recovery, when I have my ‘blips’. I consider my artwork to be expressionist/abstract. I work in all sorts of mediums, whatever I feel like learning at that time. Learning is such a great thing to do to boost those brain cells! I am currently working on a seascape.”
Image gallery at the end of this post, below book information. Thank you Sarah for sending us your book, and telling us about you.
BY THE LIGHT OF THE SILVERY MOON – INSIDE A SCHIZOPHRENIC MIND
“By the Light of the Silvery Moon is an open and honest account of developing and living with paranoid schizophrenia.”
“An ordinary girl arrives in London in the 1990s with unclear aspirations but with a determination to enjoy life. Following a turbulent relationship, which includes the heavy use of recreational drugs, the writer develops paranoid schizophrenia. This is her story, told with humour and insight, a story of coping with the disease, and meeting the challenges of raising a son. Told with warmth and insight, By the Light of the Silvery Moon shows that there is hope and a future for those suffering with schizophrenia. The story is interspersed with photographs of the author’s paintings completed as a component of art therapy.”
What: Exhibition and workshops
Where: Free Space Gallery, Kentish Town, London
When:Opening Night: Wednesday 11th November, show runs 2-27/11/15
Artist in residence Philly Hunt showcases her work in progress, ‘Spirit Parlour’, on the theme of ‘safe spaces’, identity, memory and talismans.
The show and workshops are an extension of Philly’s personal experiences. Philly says “I have suffered with chronic anxiety for 7 years, and severe depression at times. Last summer I began a course of hypnotherapy, having tried CBT to no avail. Everything has changed completely for me, and I am overcoming my anxiety and depression very well. Previously, I never dreamed of being able to take on a residency like this, to do a show, and run workshops.”
We’ll be dropping in to see Philly this week, and speak to her about how hypnotherapy has helped to change her life and overcome her problems with anxiety and depression, as well as taking part in her workshop at Free Space Gallery this Friday. For more information about the Talisman workshops, please click this link, and scroll down to Friday 13th November. Philly is running a series of three workshops, starting this Friday.
Free Space Gallery are asking for everyone reading to please “join us for the open evening for a chance to meet the artist Wednesday 11th November 6.30 – 9pm .
We hope to see you there!
What: Workshops to create an outdoor installation
Where: Freespace Gallery, 2 Bartholomew Road, London, NW5
When: Friday 9th, 16th and 23rd October
In celebration and support of World Mental Health Day 2015 , in collaboration with Free Space Gallery, and in support of the Mental Health Foundation, we will be constructing a plaster of paris outdoor installation which will live in the Well-beeing Garden at Free Space Gallery.
Join us from 2-5pm on the 9th, 16th and 23rd October to design, create and install plaster representations of your memories – good, or bad. Our memories will be cast in the style of ex-voto offerings, a votive offering left at shrines of deities, saints or divinities. In the latin world ex-votos are left in a ‘wishing’ way, perhaps to mend a broken foot, or to ask for the blessing of a child, to cure an unwell heart or even to ask for your local football team to win a game. You can read more about ex-voto offerings here.
We will be casting our memory-related objects, then install them on plinths to display to all visiting Free Space Gallery. The art objects will start life as a small shape, cast from a mould, then carved into either something figurative, such as a body part, or representation of someone dear, or something symbolic, perhaps a shape relating to a special memory. In leaving these offerings, we will either be celebrating a fond memory, representing something or someone special to us, or casting free bad experiences or troubles.
Ex-voto offerings from around the world.
All materials will be provided, but please, if possible, bring an apron or wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty (although nothing will stain!). We will be using the following materials: plaster of paris, water, acrylic paint, craft knives, files, surforms and sandpaper.
Tickets are free, as usual, although you must book your space. To reserve a space on the three workshops, or, if you can’t make all three, a particular workshop, sign up on our events page at Eventbrite. If you have any problems with signing up, send us an email and we can help.
What: Art & Music for the Mind
When: Saturday 10th October, 2015
Where: All Saints Church, Kingston upon Thames (see FB link for full details)
Artist TEMPOK got in touch to let us know he is taking part in Kingston Mental Health Festival in support of World Mental Health day on Saturday October 10th, and to share some paintings he created during a workshop in the run-up to this event.
Take a look at the Facebook event page here: Art & Music Festival for the Mind
TEMPOK says his paintings in this post were created whilst “listening to classical music and painting, drawing”, resulting in “an idea inspired by Wassily Kandinsky.”
He goes on to explain that, comically, “not only was there a radio playing pop music in the cafe next door, but everyone was passionately discussing urinals and unmade beds in the actual room, so that didn’t work out too well!” However, despite the distractions, “the interesting thing was that by having this atmosphere of bustling friendliness all around, I felt very nourished and that in itself inspired me to paint these pictures!”
TEMPOK wants to help give the festival a boost the this year, “as, last year, it was dampened by the rain, and it’d be nice if lots of people came to enjoy it this year. Plus, 20% of all sales go to the charity Mind so it’s for a good cause – not to mention giving the artists and musicians, marginalised through mental distress, some well-deserved exposure!
More information can be found on the Mind in Kingston site…
“This year sees the first Kingston Mental Health Festival which celebrates World Mental Health day by holding a range of events for local people. As well as the Mind in Kingston’s annual Arts & Music Festival there will be talks, coffee mornings and wellbeings to suit everyone.
Organisations taking part include: Learn English at Home (LEAH), Kingston Voluntary Action (KVA), Fircroft Trust, Kingston Libraries, Public Health Kingston, RBK Equality & Community Engagement Team and Mind in Kingston.
What: ‘Artbeat’ exhibition from StepArt
Where: The Coffee Lovers Café, South London
When: 21st-30th August, PV on Friday 21st and Friday 28th, 17:30 ’til late.
“This exhibition has work created by people with psychosis and engaging with the Southwark early intervention.”
STEP Team, South London and Maudsley