Being in a predominately office based work environment, through mere chance and possibly through skim reading a document just before taking off on a business trip. I inadvertently agreed up to submitting an artwork (made of paper) for an annual submission. Whereas I thought I had committed to simply providing PR around the event. Whilst initially I was overwhelmed with the idea, like most tasks I threw myself into it and learnt so much about the positive effects of incorporating the creative arts. Have a read through the results with me here.
The annual event held by Brisbane City Council is called #RECREATE and it's focus is around showing positive ideas around recycling with a visual showcase. Part of this is calling on artwork submission for dresses to be made entirely of paper to be modeled on a catwalk.
By the time I realized I was not in fact helping with a press release, and indeed appeared in the official event documents as a submitting designer, I had little more than ten days to prepare the dress artwork for submission. I'm going to be honest at the time I found it to be the biggest inconvenience to an already very busy schedule, but too late to cancel participation.
Here is the biggest surprise yet: once I got started on the visual arts aspects (painting the paper) my general mood changed and I found I was in a much more positive mind set. I was actually loving completing the project and spent far longer on it than I had scheduled, working well into the evenings - and keen to get in the next day. This lead me to a little research and it turns out the scientific effects of taking part in visual art has been very successful. When reading the US National Library of Medicine Journal specifically the paper on "The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health", I learnt that studies had shown the following connections (for example)between cancer patients once starting to take part in visual art activities:
significantly reduced stress
increased positive emotions
increases in positive communications
promoted short-term well-being
So here is my take - we can all use a little visual therapy in some form with these positive results; especially in the busy business / tech heavy world we live in. Whether you feel you are an artist or not is irrelevant, the benefits are real, and it's about creating a nice balance. I am trying to learn from my experience and make sure I do take time to keep a creative aspect to my life in order to benefit my workplace - it may just help with your next promotion!
Click though all the images of the final dress and the creative process below: