Student-made mural displayed in the C1 hallway March 16. Mural by Ora Raymond. (Ari lissauer)
Student-made mural displayed in the C1 hallway March 16. Mural by Ora Raymond.

Ari lissauer

The art of being creative

Art serves as a means of self-expression

March 23, 2022

For those who have trouble conventionally conveying their thoughts and feelings, art has become an increasingly popular form of self-expression. Whether it be through drawing, painting, sculpting or other materials, being creative is a fitting way to express one’s feelings and how they see the world.

Expressing negative, positive emotions through art

As the hardships of the pandemic wore down freshman Libi Ackerman, she said she turned to art as an outlet for expression.

“Over quarantine it was a way for me to get away from the world,” Ackerman said. “It allows me to clear my head and I can just let go of stress for a little bit which is important for me.”

During COVID-19, students have found that art serves as a perfect means for self-expression. Sophomore Mae Turman said art provides her with a channel to convey her thoughts and emotions.

“I just draw what I’m feeling,” Mae Turman said. “If I’m feeling sad, I would probably draw like a person in the rain or something like that, because it kind of gives off sad vibes. And if I were happy, I would definitely include lots of bright colors.”

Adam Turman, an acclaimed Twin Cities artist, said that as a high schooler he used art as a way to relay his experiences and emotions.

“I did a lot of drawing when I was in high school. I drew all sorts of different types of things. Most of it was kind of like me growing up as a teenage boy and all the things that teenage boys go through,” Adam Turman said.

It’s like therapy in a way. All therapy is acknowledging feelings, validating someone’s own thoughts and feelings.”

— Martha Ortman

Not only does art provide an outlet for expression, it also serves as a way for the brain to engage in a variety of activities such as sculpting or coloring, according to art teacher Martha Ortman.

“It’s how some people can translate their emotions into art,” Ortman said. “It’s a mental break to do something physical, to do something tactile, to do something with your hands.” 

Mae Turman said creating art can serve as a way to amplify voices for those who can’t articulate their feelings in any other manner.

“Some people don’t know how to express it any other way,” Mae Turman said. “There are lots of unique ways of expressing yourself. Art is just one of those ways.”

According to Ortman, using art as a means of self-expression provides a sense of mental stability for those who have trouble conveying their feelings through other channels.

“It’s like therapy in a way. All therapy is acknowledging feelings, validating someone’s own thoughts and feelings,” Ortman said. “Expressing yourself is a form of therapy. It gets things out and some people have a very cathartic feeling afterwards where they feel healed. It’s an ability to communicate in a different way.”

Art’s influence on Park

The city of St. Louis Park has been making an effort to increase the amount of art around town with murals and sculptures popping up on nearly every corner. Some of the more notable outdoor murals can be seen at Texa Tonka Shopping Center, Walker Lake, and Sota Clothing Company. Adam Turman said the Minneapolis area has been a huge inspiration for him and his art.

“I thought the buildings along the mill district, like Gold Metal Flour and the Grain Belt Beer sign downtown was the coolest, so I started doing artwork that was based off of those buildings, industrial, historic, really bold, really graphic,” Adam Turman said. “I draw things that I’m into, and I hope other people like them too. I try to make art that ultimately makes people happy.”

It’s great to see other people who love to do art. A lot of people don’t know how to do it, but it’s really just your way of expressing how you feel”

— Mae Turman

Along with murals around the city, art also populates the hallways at Park. Ortman said having student work on display can inspire other students to apply techniques to their own art and take other art classes. 

“It’s really cool because students can just see what other students do and it might give them ideas,” Ortman said. “Art can be in every other subject, art can enhance all other subjects.”

Mae Turman said the presence of art around the school and city provides her with comfort and inspiration for her and other artists.

“It’s great to see other people who love to do art. A lot of people don’t know how to do it, but it’s really just your way of expressing how you feel,” Mae Turman said.

 

Resources for getting started

For budding artists, Ackerman said she recommends looking to peers for guidance. 

“If you can just start, that’s great, but if you need a little help, look for friends who can draw or sing or play music. It’s okay to get help,” Ackerman said. “We as humans have created so much that a lot of it is probably influenced by other people and you might not even know it. You can make original pieces with things influenced from other people.”

Adam Turman said that even professionals tend to look at other artists for inspiration, especially on social media.

“I use Instagram a lot, so when I’m looking for influences. I will oftentimes check out Instagram and I will research different hashtags, and I’ll try different types of art,” Adam Turman said.

Mae Turman said she encourages others to go out of their comfort zone and explore new mediums to  expand their means of expression.

“Try new things, and if you don’t like it, you don’t like it, and if you do, that’s great,” Mae Turman said.

School can be a really stressful and negative environment for a lot of kids, and having those artistic classes and after school activities is a great way for people to let off some steam and destress.”

— Libi Ackerman

While she isn’t proficient in all mediums of art, Ackerman said she tries to diversify and incorporate different methods of art in her works.

“There are a lot of different mediums for art, so if you aren’t good at one thing, don’t give up on it, incorporate other things into it or maybe try something new,” Ackerman said. “I’m really bad at watercolor, but I’m good with acrylics, so I don’t give up on painting entirely, but just try different ways to express myself with the same vibe.”

Ortman said the school provides a variety of opportunities to get into art, and outside of class she said the internet holds valuable instructions on different mediums.

“There are so many places to start,” Ortman said. “You could join an art club, you could take an art class, you could go on YouTube and watch videos. There are so many tutorials out there. I watch tutorials, and I’m a teacher.”

Students should take advantage of the variety of art classes offered at Park, according to Ackerman, as they can serve as a break from the stressors provided by other classes.

“School can be a really stressful and negative environment for a lot of kids, and having those artistic classes and after school activities is a great way for people to let off some steam and destress,” Ackerman said. 

According to Ortman, starting out with simple tasks is the best way to build proficiency while learning art skills.

“The nice thing about art is that there are simple techniques that (students) can learn and then they feel that they have had success because they pay attention to the simple techniques,” Ortman said. “It’s really cool to see their confidence build.” 

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