Friday Features: Wellbeing Through Creativity
“I am a visual artist with a BA in Animation, working in painting and printmaking. My art exhibits visions of life-affirming energy and, as a result, people feel inspired, playful and joyful. My exhibitions and events create stimulating and engaging experiences that awaken the senses, memory and curiosity. I have written this piece to explore how I harness my creative energy, hoping to inspire this in others. I am also an active member of Art Can, an artist-led, non-profit arts organisation with members across Britain and internationally.”
Creativity is the use of imaginative ideas to create or find original solutions. It’s not just something for artists and writers; it’s present in all of us. As creative beings, it’s one of the main qualities that defines us as a species, allowing us evolve and survive by opening up the world to new possibilities.
We’re all creative on different levels. Creativity is a way of living, and sometimes the result is not necessarily a product or a work of art. Even if you are not in a creative industry, you can still be creative, with personal projects that allow your creative juices to flow and your ideas to blossom.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. For me, it’s something that comes along without looking for it. I make art to find out what I don’t yet know. Inspirational ideas never stop; they are everywhere, even in dreams. It’s something that comes on its own, even when I am not looking for it. When I’m am following a brief, I often make a mind map and do my research before I start sketching.
When I express my creativity by following my curiosity and trusting my intuition, beautiful things happen. Adding life to my imagination allows me to be playful and see things from a new perspective. This gives me the strength to continue. Being creative and ‘in the flow’ is an experience that gives me the greatest enjoyment.
I have come to realise that trusting in the creative process is easier when I do it in small steps, while being flexible and detached from the outcome. If I have too many expectations for my creative work, I am inevitably disappointed. Without expectations, I relax and let go, enjoying the process. I know that if I trust this process, the inspiration will come. It happens not by seeking to make the outcome better, or by trying harder, but simply by working while being present and fully engaged.
I first experienced this many years ago, during my art foundation course. My tutor, Sean, told me to cut some shapes. I had no idea why I had to do this. I didn’t understand the point of doing all this cutting out, with no purpose in sight. However, Sean insisted I take the scissors and just start cutting.
So, after resisting Sean and the brief, I finally gave in. I let go of all my ideas about what I should do and just flowed with it. Feeling reticent at first, I let go and allowed the creative process to take control. As one with it, it was almost a form of meditation. I took a deep breath, looked at the paper, and started playing with it. Not so long afterwards, a few cut-outs and shapes came together.
At some point, I happened to slide one piece of paper into another and, to my surprise, it looked like a bird. Then more birds appeared out of nowhere. It was like magic when I put it all on the table and worked perfectly, becoming three-dimensional and alive.
Letting go supports my creative work, helping me to be productive while exploring new possibilities. My creativity flows effortlessly, giving me a sense of wellbeing and fulfilment.Each print I make is a meaningful reflection and a unique celebration of life. My linocut prints celebrate life’s seminal moments and new beginnings, always submerging the viewer within the iconography of their own storytelling.
My exhibition was featured in ES Magazine in August 2019 as: Sweet Dreams. Exploring her Peruvian background alongside the experience of living in London, Patricia Bidi’s latest exhibition, Dreams & Traces, transforms the Westminster Reference Library into a carnival of colour with her vibrant linocuts.
Creativity with linocut workshops has been part of Vo Curations Contemporary Gallery Cultural Programme. These workshops bring people together to embrace, learn and engage with their creativity, cultivating a sense of community and collaboration while experimenting with new ideas, materials and techniques. The exhibitions I am participating in over 2021 are Self-Identify, Momentum and Prelude. Also, I took part in Lockdown Residence, a proposed geographically distant but collective residency, providing a loose structure for artists to reflect on our experiences of lockdown. The exhibition charts the creation of artist responses through painting, drawing, graphic design, photography, embroidery, animation, visual poetry and video. All events and group exhibitions show the creative spirit of London, displaying strength, perseverance and resilience.
After exhibiting in Barking and Dagenham over five years, I had the pleasure to be part of the ninth annual literary festival ReadFest 2020, where I led the ‘Illustration And Visual Storytelling Workshop’. It started in September and finished in February 2021. During these workshops, participants from all over the world came together to explore the world of illustration and engage with visual storytelling, using new creative processes to draw stories in their style.
Creativity and imagination are gifts each one of us has, helping us listen to our intuition. The health and wellbeing of the planet and humanity depend on us all working creatively. Spring is here; a time for renewal and personal growth, it’s the season for recharging our batteries by being creative. So get out there and create!
Connect with Patricia: Twitter: @patriciabidi Website patriciabidi.com
Patricia showcases her linocut skills in the following animation:
Inspiration can come from anywhere. For me, it's something that comes along without looking for it. I make art to find out what I don’t yet know.