Have you ever considered how your home affects your health? The art of feng shui has long been practiced in eastern cultures, and since adopted by the west as a way of creating harmony in your living space. The concept involves the mindful and careful placement of furniture, objects, colour and art in order to maximise the flow of chi or energy throughout your living space and enhance an atmosphere of calm and serenity, which in turn has a positive impact on your health and wellbeing. The benefits of living with art include reducing stress and engaging the creative parts of your brain. Research has also shown that when we look at art the parts of our brain associated with pleasure and reward are activated. Looking at artworks don’t simply make us feel calmer, but actually brings us joy!
Art can have an enormously positive impact on our lives and day to day routines. The Spring edition of this year’s Affordable Art Fair in Battersea, explores the power of art in aiding wellbeing. Meditation workshops and mindful photography are also set to fill the agenda at the four day event which runs from Thursday 9th – Sunday 12th March. Scientific research has proven that producing visual art improves psychological resilience and allows us to express negative thoughts in a healthy way. The fair will host a selection of artists who began their practice as a way of coping with stress, demonstrating the many benefits of art as a therapy. A mix of contemporary paintings, editioned prints, sculptures and photography will be showcased at accessible prices, starting from just £100.
There will also be an opportunity to explore how art can help you in achieving tranquility and mindfulness. The emphasis is on promoting the benefits of art and creativity on mental wellbeing and happiness, with workshops to inspire all ages to find their inner artist. The charity Barnardo’s is also involved with their “believe in me” campaign, encouraging children and young people to explore the theme “I am”, through mirror portrait drawing. This is very much about drawing without boundaries, being freed from the pressure of making your work look perfect and instead celebrating self expression and liberation through creation.
Healthy Living London’s Lucinda caught up with Sam Gare, Director of the Affordable Art Fair to gain some more insight into how art can aid your health…
1. Where did the inspiration come for this year’s theme, “Art and Wellbeing”?
We’re huge advocates of the positive impact art can have on our lives and day to day routines, and are really excited to celebrate this topic at the upcoming fair. The benefits of experiencing art can range from helping you to de-stress to giving the creative parts of your brain a mini work-out, and hanging works you love in your house can help you to feel grounded and at home.
2. How many artists are you representing this year who began their practice as a means of coping with stress, and how important is art therapy?
Artists who will be represented at the fair include Zac Greening, who began his career as a means of therapy to cope with the loss of his father, and Sally Buchanan who left her busy job as a GP of 25 years to follow her dream and use art to explore the links between arts and wellbeing.
Our galleries also realise how important creativity is to their own wellbeing. For example Cynthia Corbett had always loved art and after many years in a very busy and high powered job changed career to work in the arts to help her work-life balance, enabling her to spend more time with her family. Similarly Cara Connell, the founder of Lumitrix, found leaving law easy, and doesn’t regret the change – she now lives a life full of creativity, excitement and healthy living.
Art is also a hugely successful form of therapy and has long been used by our charity partner, Barnardo’s to help young people to express emotions that are otherwise hard to articulate, and to provide an escape from the outside world. Scientific research has proven that producing visual art improves psychological resilience and allows us to express negative thoughts in a healthy way. Art has rightfully been described as a ‘gift to the mind’.
3. What are the main benefits of introducing art to the home?
In addition to the visual benefits of tying a room together and adding vibrancy and personality to your space, for a lot of people art makes a house a home. We’re all so caught up in the everyday anxiety of modern life, and surrounding ourselves with artwork we love can really give us something to escape into. The benefits of living with art include reducing stress and engaging the creative parts of your brain. Research has also shown that when we look at art the parts of our brain associated with pleasure and reward are activated. Looking at artworks don’t simply make us feel calmer, but actually brings us joy!
4. What advice do you have for how to choose the right art for each room?
It’s important to make sure the emotions a certain piece of art conjures complement the location in which you display it. A very personal or calming piece could work well in a private, quiet area such as the bedroom whereas a bright and energetic print might be better suited to a sociable space such as a living or dining room.
5. Can you suggest 10 pieces of art to bring harmony to your home?
To create a relaxing and welcoming environment, look to introduce nature into the home. This can be through a print or painting which depicts a relaxing landscape, such as Receding Tide by David Taylor, or Amy Judd’s Bath White, or a sculpture which incorporates natural materials. Colour choices are important too and warm golden tones, cool greens and greys or deep blues are perfect for evoking a feeling of cosiness, as seen in Lucy Campbell’s Flights of Fancy.
Receding Tide by David Taylor. Oil on canvas, 110 x 110cm. £3000 from Will’s Art Warehouse
Bowl by Fran Mora. Oil and collage on canvas, 100 x 100cm. £4,500 from Strange Tracey
Kodama Spring by Lucille Clerc. Giclee print, 70 x 50xm, edition of 50. £180 from Outline Editions
Euphoria by Peter Wileman FROI, RSMA, FRSA. Oil on canvas, 76 x 76cm. £4,950 from Lime Tree Gallery
Tree on Golden Ball by Sven – Ake Ekberg. Melted iron, acrylic paint and gold leaf, 15 x 10 x 10cm. £980 from Galleri Final
Set in stone by Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf. Oil and mixed media on linen canvas, 100 x 100cm. £3,200 from Catharine Miller
Wednesday 8 March 2017
Charity Private View: 17.30 – 21.30
Thursday 9 March 2017: 11.00 – 17.30
Late View: 17.30 – 21.30
Friday 10 March 2017: 11.00 – 18.00
Saturday 11 March 2017: 11.00 – 18.00
Sunday 12 March 2017: 11.00 – 18.0
Charity Private View: £25 advance or on the door
Adult weekday: Advance £10 / Door £12 – Concessions weekday: Advance £8 / Door £10
Adult weekend: Advance £12 / Door £15 – Concessions weekend: Advance £10 / Door £13
Free entry for children under 16 accompanied by an adult