Throughout the pandemic, multiple individuals struggled with mental health and looked for a coping mechanism–a way to help express their feelings and let go of the negativity they contain and still go through. What if art was the one coping mechanism that everyone searched for? (Courtesy of Theresa Bear)
Throughout the pandemic, multiple individuals struggled with mental health and looked for a coping mechanism–a way to help express their feelings and let go of the negativity they contain and still go through. What if art was the one coping mechanism that everyone searched for?

Courtesy of Theresa Bear

Art throughout the pandemic

December 15, 2020

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic school, grocery shopping, and family organizations took place normally, as normal as it can come by. The more COVID spread, the more people worried about contracting the virus and spreading the virus. Places like schools and multiple restaurants began to close causing the world to stray away from normalcy. Multiple individuals started to shop at stores and bought almost all of the cleaning supplies and other necessities. Causing a limit of what people can buy, all of this combined made multiple people extremely stressed and concerned for the world.

  The first known case of COVID-19  occurred in the United States during the month of January 2020. In March all schools, businesses, and activities began to shut down due to the spread of COVID-19. This caused people to experience a decline in mental health. Since people got very scared and anxious because COVID was a new disease that individuals did not know much about. Thousands of people began contracting the virus which caused an increase in deaths. This caused anxiety to spike about, not only themselves but others too. People searched for coping mechanisms to help minimize the quarantine’s effects. Numerous people took up art and art therapy as a coping mechanism and a hobby. 

Marissa Amorose

Individuals acknowledge art therapy as a means for people to express their emotions and feelings by creating artwork. Art therapy is a technique that says the idea of creative expression can help individuals heal, and help their mental health. This form of therapy helps individuals that struggle with trauma, mental illness, and physical illness. Any age can use art therapy as a way to better their minds. Children usually use art therapy the most because they usually struggle to state their emotions. Even people who do enjoy  creating art or people that do not can still use art therapy. Adults can color in adult coloring books and color designs such as mandalas. Mandalas consist of geometric patterns that represent a Hindu or Buddhist graphic symbol. While others can do diamond dots, where participants fill in posters with one sequin at a time according to the symbol or number and color of the sequin. A picture of a sunflower or another image will be on a piece of fabric and come with different colored sequins in each pack. For example, the petals of the sunflower contain the color orange and yellow and the yellow color’s symbol is a sun then all the yellows would go on the fabric with the suns. They will get attached with a plastic applicator with a tiny suction cup at the end. While children doodle on things like copy paper, construction paper and in a sketchbook, several other techniques and exercises people began to create objects with painting, textiles, photography, collage, drawing, and sculpting. 

Individuals used art to cope for multiple reasons. Art does not contain any correct and incorrect answers. Art does not have anything to do with right or wrong. It depends on how and if the person expresses their feelings. It also helps people communicate their feelings when they do not know how to state them. Since people do not need specific art utensils and people do not need any practice to express their emotions people choose art to cope.  For example for drawing people do not need a specific type of pencil, lead or paper to create an illustration which helps if the individual does not have any specific supplies. Also because people can create art at any time and anywhere no matter where they locate themselves.  People can draw on things from a napkin all the way to a piece of sketchbook paper. People also enjoy using art because they can release negative emotions by creating masterpieces.  

    Multiple artists paint to help get rid of the pandemic’s effects. People paint because it allows their minds to relax and let go of whatever began them stressing out. Which releases plenty of stress and without stress it leads to a better mental state. For the two sides of the brain, painting comes naturally for the people that use more of their right side of their brain, while painting helps people who use their left side of their brain more repeatedly expand in creativity because people who use and think more with their right-side of their brain usually contain more creativity than the left-side. It also helps enhance people’s problem solving and motor skills since while painting those skills get used the most. For emotional growth, painting helps by expressing emotions in an abstract way.  Painting makes whoever creates the piece of art feel safe to explore their own creative imagination and helps with memory loss. After creating a painting, people usually feel exceedingly prideful and happy which helps with their self-esteem. 

People, such as Sheila Hicks, she is a textile creator that makes large and mini textiles. People know her because of her large-scale works. A textile contains weaved yarn that makes a piece of cloth. Textiles began helping people because the material people began to create them with. One of those materials includes linen and cotton. People use linen to create textiles because of the texture of it. The smooth texture of linen almost calms and soothes the skin of whoever starts to wear it. Artists have created herbal textiles as well. Herbal textiles contain a coat of herbal extract on them that keeps the healing process in the cloth. The herbal extract began helping heal certain diseases such as asthma and diabetes. The process of creating these textiles for others has made people happy by having the feeling of helping others.

Photography poses as a coping mechanism during quarantine because people see taking a photo as a way to reflect on themselves. People see taking a photo as choosing what stays in and goes out of the frame of the photo. The feeling of choosing what goes in and stays out of the photo helps increase self-esteem. Higher self-esteem means feeling happier in the long run. Photography also helps reduce stress which helps regulate how much people sleep and helps with people remaining happy throughout the day. It helps reduce the percentage of developing certain mental health issues down the road as well. 

During quarantine, people began to face collages as another object to create. People like immigrant youths have participated in collage therapy. Collage therapy, beneficial for people who do not have skills in art because people do not have to draw or paint to create collages. Creating collages helps people that struggle with expressing their feelings through words. Collages define a way to put your emotions on one piece of paper through photographs. Collage therapy provides a symbolic release of emotions when people do and do not know what their feelings include. It also helps express your personality on a piece of paper which makes it easier for the person and someone else to see. Collages also show and reveal emotions sometimes stronger than when someone shows their emotions verbally and gives the patients a sense of freedom. 

Marissa Amorose

People took up the hobby of creating drawings to help with the stress of COVID-19. People use multiple materials that they use to create illustrations. Materials such as a regular pencil, charcoal pencils, oil pastels, chalk pastels, pens, and crayons.  People who already used drawing as a coping mechanism become knowledgeable about the different types of materials which helps them use the items with no frustration and instruction. Without frustration and instruction occurs to contain more ability to let go of certain things and feelings. People use drawing as a coping mechanism because people do not need drawing skills to show their emotions through creative pieces. Drawing also can produce effects on the emotional, physical, and mental state of patients.  

Families and other individuals sculpt ceramic pieces as a coping mechanism. Family sculpting therapy contains a procedure that contains the steps of picking the sculptor, the sculpting process, therapist interventions, and then de-rolling. A type of psychotherapy in which people express their feelings and emotions by acting them out known as psychodrama. Sculpting helped families during quarantine because the quickest way to address what began hurting the family or individual. It also helps with finding problems that the other family members have gone through that the other members did not know about. Family sculpting helped families and other people become more self-aware making the family and other individuals stronger with each other and by themselves.  

With the world still on lockdown with strict precautions, more and more people began to experiment with all the different types of art. Even a number of museums began to involve hosting more online art classes during the quarantine. Museums such as the National WW1 Museum and Memorial started and hosted classes for knitting and creating random things for certain holidays such as Mother’s Day. Multiple individuals learned and re-visited art hobbies with all the free time during the pandemic. Other individuals look at art as a coping mechanism since looking at someone else’s art makes people feel empathy for the artist. People also decorate using to act as a distraction because the different colors of the decorations and paint impact how you feel. Colors, such as beige and gray make people feel more depressed and down, while on the other hand colors, like yellow, spark a sense of joy. 

The pandemic to this day continues to affect plenty of people, art benefited individuals in multiple ways. Art helped people relieve stress, escape negative emotions, and let go of any negative thoughts. Painting helped most with stress relief and helped each side of the brain in specific ways. The textures of the textiles help by calming individuals and by helping them feel the feeling of giving them to others began to make people feel a sense of happiness. Photography helps individuals reflect on themselves. Collage-making benefits those who do not know how to express how they feel. Drawing helps the individuals in various ways such as emotional and physical health while sculpting helped a number of families get through these hard times. A coping mechanism such as art did and still does quantities for therapists, artists, adults, and children.

 
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