Shattered: Art and Coping

In the last 2 years I have learned more about digital art and adapting my creativity to technologies I can participate in with my new health challenges. It’s unfortunate that many artists still don’t recognize digital art forms as “real art.” If you are one of those artists, I encourage you to reconsider by taking the time to evaluate mixed media further. I’ve always loved working with my hands and being artistic, but when my CRPS pain condition went from my leg to also causing problems with my head and brain, ongoing migraine, intense eye pain, sensitivity to light, passing out disorder, heart, etc., it has kept me from participating in the arts like I used to. If you are an artist or crafter, you may understand the need to move around while doing your work- this I can no longer do.

I belong to a group on facebook called Chronically Inspired that encourages people with different types of disabilities and limitations to use art as a coping tool and provides a supportive sharing community. The group has helped motivate me a great deal; I feel the projects themselves have been therapeutic in my mood and overall recovery. Because of this group, I feel more free to share my work and I’m excited to show this piece to you, kind readers!

I created this project for Nervember/ Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Awareness Month. It was inspired by this awesome piece of art byΒ Rosalie Gascoigne called “Party Piece” from 1988 (as seen below). She cut and pieced together reflective road signs- I loved the idea.

To begin my project, I created an InfoGraphic (a digital image conveying information) that both met the needs for my project as well as expressed information about CRPS/RSD for Awareness. Surprisingly, my infographic as seen below was shared and displayed by many people throughout November even though it was only created to be cut up. I used for the first time to create this poster.

CRPS Word Poster | November art projects article #RSD #CRPS #Nervember #spoonie #awareness #arttherapy #

CRPS Word Poster

Lastly, the most fun part, was cutting up the above poster and piecing it back together. (I used both and Powerpoint.) I knew it would be a tedious project, but I didn’t realize it would be so cathartic. I was cutting into pieces a poster I had spent time making look visually appealing- now it was a mess in pieces all over my computer screen and I had no idea how to reassemble it. The assemblage took so much longer than the above poster, it’s much less visually appealing and makes a lot less sense- yet the effort was so much greater. It reminded me of living with chronic illness.

RSD/ CRPS, and chronic illness cuts us into pieces, too. We have to rebuild our lives and figure it out as we go. Hopefully, we make sense of it along the way. It may not look pretty or make sense to others, but that’s ok. It probably won’t look the same as before, but we can make something new and special once again. I hope this piece is a reminder of how far you have come in making a way on your own fractured journey.

My favorite part of the finished piece is that new words and meanings emerged- if you look closely, you may find some new meanings of your own within the mess. Enjoy looking!

"Shattered" Poster CRPS RSD | November art projects article #artherapy #spoonie #chronicpain #crps #rsd #pain #art #collage #assemblage

“Shattered” Poster CRPS RSD

Thank you for allowing me to share my work with you. My 2 posters I created are free to be shared or Pinned.Β 

About abodyofhope

I do not know why it is that we must wade through tragic circumstances to find truth. We nearly drown! But under the water, there are pearls. I hope in writing this blog, more will come to the surface. Over the past 15 years living with chronic pain, patient advocacy has had a powerful effect on my life through meeting so many remarkable teens, women and men: SURVIVORS. These individuals are HOPE personified. I wish to honor them in the same spirit they have encouraged me to press on. Eight years ago, I became bed-bound from a variety of secondary chronic illnesses. A procedure meant to help the pain condition I had been managing for several years- went bust #BIGTIME. Over the years, my entire life has changed. I have changed, but I am still striving to live my best life possible. Along with sharing inspiring pieces about spiritual wellness and finding quality of life inside of ongoing illness, I also share health research, awareness information, poetry, memes, art, and this blog is also an attempt to put my own pieces back together. Welcome to A Body of Hope, and thank you for visiting. [Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/ RSD, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Dysautonomia, Chronic Intractable Migraine, Cluster headache, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Occipital Neuralgia, Hypersensitivity to Sound & Light, Fibro, CFS/ME, Cerebrospinal Fluid Imbalance......blah, blah, blah] >>> P.S. My headgear is protective for pain. I just rock it hard ;)

Posted on November 22, 2014, in Art Therapy, RSD/CRPS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Absolutely love it! Great job.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are so wonderful!!! And always so timely! I just broke down and bought a tablet with a decent camera and a stylus and keyboard for it, so that I can start this crazy tedious project of snapping photos and scanning into the computer every scrap of collected magazine clipping, textured paper and other media I have amassed a physical collection of over the years, as well as my own paintings at a higher res than I have had in the past, and then I will get to work cutting them apart on the tablet and re-learning my digital craft. I used to be a pretty talented graphic artist, but I let it fall to the wayside in favor of acrylics on canvas, and now I know why! It was so I would have something that was new and exciting to focus on learning through this illness, something upon which to build confidence besides writing.
    I want to be doing art for awareness’ sake this time, just like you, and I am so inspired by your hard work and the many hours spent on these posters. Thank you for being so great, and so expressive of the things I am struggling with that I don’t even know I’m struggling with until I read your words.

    ❀ ❀ ❀ art is such a healer. so much love for this post and your work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessi,
      Wow, that tablet sounds awesome! I can’t wait to see what you will do with it. It’s exciting to expand art forms and learn on new platforms as well- like you are doing now. My husband just got me a new photo editor which I haven’t played with yet… Exciting! With chronic illness and pain, when we can’t go and do, creativity is where my fun time comes from and I know you feel the same way.
      Looking so forward to hearing/seeing more about your projects in the group as I know it will propel more inspiration in everyone.
      Thank you for always having such encouraging comments. I hope you and your bf have a happy Thanksgiving ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Plus I can’t thank you enough for adding me to Chronically Inspired, it has encouraged and nourished me to be around crafters and creators of beautiful things, who understand the importance of keeping art alive in the soul no matter what adversities we face.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m intrigued by graphic art and find this piece amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jane! I had no idea how to create things like this before. I always did tactile projects and I don’t even have a photo editor on my computer so it’s been a challenge playing around with different online editors. Truthfully, if I had one editor, it may not be as fun πŸ™‚ I know you are enjoying digital mixed media yourself as you are so talented in everything you do. It’s fun to share them with one another ❀


  5. Absolutely beautiful!! While I’m sure it took time to create the first picture I can’t help but love the second one. It really represents life with this awful illness. Scattered, broken, but beautifully held together!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Naturally Ashlie

    This is absolutely awesome! Using art to cope with chronic illness is a great idea! Plus you get to share wonderful stuff like this with the world πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love this! So creative! Very cool πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathleen,
      I know you use your creativity to cope as well, so I appreciate your feedback on this this. It’s the first time revealing any of my artwork here and I hope others feel empowered to try art projects for coping as well πŸ™‚ β™‘

      Liked by 1 person

  8. LOVE your “shattered” piece! So awesome! It’s great that you are able to express yourself through digital art–so creative πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Rachel πŸ™‚ I’m usually shy about sharing my artwork, but that support group has really encouraged more sharing. It’s a big step to share on a blog. I really appreciate the love πŸ™‚ β™‘

      Liked by 1 person

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