We were delighted to catch up with our amazing youth worker Lauren to talk about the link between creativity and mental health!
Q 1. Hey Lauren, what age were you when you discovered your passion for being creative and how did you express yourself artistically at that time?
I honestly fell in love with being creative from a very young age at school (possibly 5 or years old!)
It may seem very young but in school I thrived in writing, painting and using my hands to express what was going on in my mind. I was very quiet at that time, so it was a good way for me to communicate when I couldn’t with words.
Q 2. What is your favourite medium to create in and where do you get your inspiration from for the subject?
My favourite medium is definitely acrylic painting, because there are no limits to how bright or bold of a piece you can create.
I would get a lot of inspiration from simple daily life for example the business of a coffee shop or while going on a walk through Belfast. I try to find items or places that people often disregard as worthless and see something new in them.
Q 3. Which artists do you admire most and why?
Mark Rothko is someone that I have discovered two years ago, he was an abstract painter from the 1950s.
His work is something that never ages as it focuses on colour and layout to make the individual continually look at it.
Q 4. Why do you think art and design promotes positive mental health? Do you find it therapeutic too?
I think art promotes mental health as a lot of people struggle to communicate with words or by writing. But with art and creating there is no wrong way of communicating, it’s simply about the individual expressing what’s going on in their mind and they can’t be faulted for that. Personally it was essential, a few years ago due to illness I struggled to physically speak and creating helped me escape from that reality, it helped me feel like myself again.
Q 5. You are a Youth Worker at GLOW and interact with girls and young women on a regular basis. What do you see them getting out of the creative tasks that they participate in?
Working with the young girls and getting to see them every week in some format is such a privilege.
When the girls create whether that is through painting or creative writing, I can see them processing their thoughts.
It is as if with everything they make it helps them take back control of their surroundings, especially with during COVID and that in that moment of creativity, they are writing their story.
Q. 6 What advice would you give to anyone who wants to use art to express themselves and improve their wellbeing? Where should they start?
I would start with buying a sketch pad and a few materials (like an inky pen, pencil and paints)
Then try and find what you want to say, whether you write it out first or simply doodle on a page.
There is no wrong way of being creative, just find the easiest way for you!
Also Pinterest have great ideas for creative journaling or mood boards to check your well being.
Check out Lauren’s art here.