Creative Practice Leah andritsch

Ever since I was a child I was passionate about art. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I always said “an artist.” I have kept this mentality throughout my life and fostered my creativity. I was inherently talented at drawing and painting but I chose photography as my main medium because I found the process fascinating. I am visual person so I am drawn to images. I started learning photo in high school and it carried throughout my college career. The image I have chosen to represent my personal art experience is a self-portrait photograph of my silhouette. I love all things art and my passion is to inspire others to be creative. As a creative individual, I live to imagine and create beauty all around me.

Self Portrait, 2014.

As an undergrad, I studied Studio Art with a focus mostly in painting, photography and graphic design. I also studied Anthropology in which I used my creative ability to explore anthropological techniques of study and research. I was fortunate enough to travel with my class to Guna Yala, Panama, my senior year to study the indigenous Guna people and curate an ancient art exhibit about their culture. I used my photography skills to capture the daily life and observations of the people I met. The series of photos I took was also included in the exhibit as a present day representation of the culture. The time I spent studying Panama also inspired my fine art work to create paintings of the beautiful landscape I witnessed. I appreciated learning a variety of mediums that allowed me to express my creativity through different platforms and with the proper tools needed to execute my ideas.

Panama Landscape, 2013.
Portrait of Guna Woman, Panama, 2013.

I joined the UM Sylvester volunteer team in Fall 2012 as an artist in the Sylvester Arts in Medicine Program, and I am currently still involved. I have participated in orchestrating art projects to assist patients through arts in medicine to relieve stress and anxiety by creating works of art while in the hospital or during chemotherapy. I love meeting new people and sharing in the joy they experience when doing arts in medicine. I have learned so much wisdom and have a greater appreciation for life and health.

Patient during Arts in Medicine Session, UM Sylvester Cancer Center.

Six Word Autobiography

Visual artist passionate about holistic living.

Cozy sleeping kitty keeps me company.

To empower the soul through creativity.

Be mindful of the present moment.

I found this exercise to be somewhat challenging but also fun. It was difficult for me to reflect on myself and simplify all my thoughts and emotions into one sentence, let alone only six words! I did appreciate this exercise because sometimes it is difficult for me to pin point my focus and I found the process resourceful. It allowed for me to take a step back and visualize my core desires or aspirations and create a mantra of who I am and my goals. I enjoyed this practice because it was fun intro to get the creative juices flowing.

This creative prompt could be adapted to someone receiving healthcare or participating in a health or wellness initiative by giving him or her a process to focus and express his or her internal needs, desires, or feelings aside from the health care they are already receiving. The process addressing prompted themes into six words challenges the mind to simplify the core meaning of what it feels or thinks. It is a creative game anyone can play. It can be applied to those receiving healthcare or even those who are administrating healthcare initiatives in to thinking outside the box; in turn, getting the gears to turn and inspire creativity for future activities.

The clarity and focus of the simplified product gives a clear description of the individual’s needs, desires, or feelings. This can help provide direction to the individual to accomplish those needs or, simply, give them something of tangibility to reflect and understand what they feel. The inherent restrictions encourage a racking of the participant’s brain to work through limitations; inspiring the creative process. It is a challenging puzzle with a solution; where all answers that someone could provide is a solution to their own personal puzzle.

It is a game that anyone despite demographic, language, culture, and even literacy can play. This activity as a game engages those who embrace creativity and those who define themselves as uncreative or incapable of art to feel creative. Most significantly, a simple seeming activity can boost morale through sense of accomplishment and creative expression.

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