1000 Blog Post to reflect only dissertation and how it has influenced my practice

What have I done well in my essay?

My dissertation is an interesting subject because the definition and ideas behind it was still somewhat unknown and there are many approaches which can be explored to try to find an answer. Many psychologists have expressed their own ideas based on the knowledge already known as well as their own experience of the subject. I was really interested in investigating a range if different psychologists and explore their approaches because it would help to broaden my own knowledge of the topic. It was really interested especially the views of Kramer and Naumburg because of how they perceive art therapy. Whether ‘art is therapy’ or a factor under psychotherapy is a debate which I have investigated in my dissertation because they are two views which present different ideologies. Each idea is bias to itself but having looked into them I believe they both hold strong factors which strengthen the definition of art therapy. The broadness of the definition is what I believe makes art therapy a fascinating subject to have picked for my dissertation. I wanted to explored a range of psychologists including the two above as well as Sigmund Freud and Elinor Ulman. The really interesting part about most of these theorist is, they are also artists who have either experienced the ‘powers of art’ or have seen the effects all those around them. The different experiences and study range in all ages, abilities and cultures which makes the subject more diverse.

As well as exploring these ideologies from psychologists, I also wanted to explore past and present artists who have suffered with mental illness and had/have evidenced it in their work. The reason for this chapter of the dissertation was to give evidence for the subject and to explore the different ways different artist have express their feelings and emotions. I wanted to include real examples of the topic and provide some supporting evidence for the different uses and ways of showing it. Their artwork paints a picture for the audience and conveys a range of emotions. I think this is interesting because it is evident in the work where they gain their inspiration from and how they are trying to make said inspiration visual. The visual depiction helps the painter, sculptor, to create the emotions and to almost give them an identity. I decided to used four different artists in the piece, past and current artists because I think it gave a wide enough variety of different people with totally different experiences. Van Gogh simply conveyed his mental state at the time in his paintings and choice colours, tones, shapes within the painting which he felt were right at the time. Tracey Emin however, using art as a reminder for her reckless antics in her life. The reminders are not there to bring back that moment on time but to express the importance of remembering the good and the bad times in your life.

What would I do in the future to improve my essay?

I want to continue exploring the subject by researching more psychologists, art therapists and artists who may not necessarily express they are using art as therapy but, who I think could be. I will also be carrying out work experience which will help me to understanding the subject more and have first hand involvement in a therapeutic setting. In the future I want to research the work of Naumburg and Kramer because I believe their different approach hold interesting and very relevant ideas. This will also open me up to more researchers and expanding the knowledge on the topic. By obtaining more information, I feel it will help me with different clients and enable me to adapt my guidance depending on the client. Whether I want to approach the client in a more ‘psychotherapeutic’ way or to focus on the idea that the art making itself is therapeutic. The more detailed exploration of psychologists will help me in the future with my own career and give me the base line to potentially publish my own ideas which could be the basis for someone else.

1000 Blog Entry for Submission

I have explored many different concepts and areas without my time in constellation in both Level 4 and Level 5 including sustainability, art philosophy and perception.

Why did I decided to choose this topic?

For the last few years I have been fascinated by art therapy because I have family members in the military who have suffered from PTSD and am close with people who suffer from mental illness. I have used art myself as a way to relax and establish my thoughts because sometimes I think about things a lot, begin to overthink and so the art allows me to organised the different ideas I have and get them out onto paper. I decided to form my dissertation on the link between art and mental health because it is a subject I want to continue through a masters and into a career. I am fascinated by the undefined topic and want to continue the research. Art therapy is quite new in the world of psychology and therapy and still does not have a definition set in stone because there are many aspects of it which was still unknown and unexplored. Through my dissertation, I want to explore the different theories on the topic to expand my own knowledge and possibly come to a conclusion myself of how the topic could be defined. I find this topic fascinating because I have spoken to people in my life and others I have met at art fairs who have used art as a form of therapy. I have found there to be mixed reviews about how it has helped them but, overall the reviews have been positive making art therapy more attractive and something I’d like to explore. I have really enjoyed looked into different theories and ideologies by practicing art therapists because they have all contributed to my essay and given me a range of different ideas to help form my opinion on the definition of art therapy. I found a book called “art and mental health” which is filled with artworks created by those suffering from a mental illness. I found it really interesting to look through because it contained many artworks of different styles and showed such emotion in them. The work was very personal to the creator which I even more intriguing because it makes the work more mysterious and less generalised. The works didn’t have much of a blurb to them which I found interesting because it meant you as the audience were able to create your own story about the work. This could make the work personal to you as well as not divulging any personal and confidential information about the creator and their metal health.

What did I find difficult?

I found it quite difficult when it came to the research for my question. I found there were a good few books on the topic however, the theories were a lot broader which meant it was hard to narrow down the answer each theory was trying to get across. Many of the theories give ideologies but nothing set in stone which meant the essay is possibly a guessing game. I feel my knowledge of the topic has broadened a lot but because there is no true definition, there is a lot of uncertainty in the topic. The theories I have been looking into including the Gestalts theory, Transdisciplinary and others stated by professions and practicing art therapists are all giving different ideologies and understanding of the subject making the essay a lot broader than I originally thought it would be. I did find it quite difficult to get the word count in because I wasn’t sure how much detail I needed to out into the essay. I felt if I put too much detail in there I wouldn’t be leaving anything for the real dissertation in third year however, if I didn’t put enough in then I wouldn’t make the word count.

In order to improve and broaden my knowledge of the subject, I need to continue researching different theories by talking to my tutor and exploring the library in more depth. This will help me to understand art therapy more and create more of an argument for my dissertation and to develop my own opinion on the subject.

How has the topic influenced my practice?

I feel this topic influences my work as a practicing artist because I feel I use art as a form of therapy and I have looked into topics of abuse, drug violence and sexual exploitation which are all conditions which can be treated with using art. Art is a great way to understand your emotions and feelings because you are able to get them out of your head and onto paper. Art is a fantastic way to understand and interpret these emotions because we can use our media and materials we want to use in order to make the art which could then reflect how we feel. For example, if I decided to use harsh rough surface materials and a lot of red, black and dark coloured paints it would reflect a feeling of negativity and darkness.

This is a topic I wanted to take on into a Masters degree and into a career later in life. It is still unknown to me as to whether I want to be a practicing art therapist or a psychologist in the field. I feel through a MA and the early stages of my career I will be able to decide this.

1000 Learning Journal Entry Formative Assessment

In the past six weeks of constellation have provided me with the knowledge and some understanding into different theories of perception.

How I felt at the start

At the start of the course I felt apprehensive about what the subject was going to be. The question of perception is so broad and has so many different ideologies from theorists. Before my first lesson I thought the subject would be philosophy based because it talks about many ideas and concepts imagine by different people.


With the help of the speaker’s knowledge, research online and books in the library I have had the chance to the research of the Gestalt theory. I found this subject to be really interesting because it talks about the psychological side of perception and how our minds work. As an aspiring art therapist, I think these subjects has been very useful and informative. The basic understand of this theory has also enable me to look more carefully at my own practice. I will know start to think about how yours perceive and interpret my work which will help me to form new ways for them to interact with it. Roland Barthes’theory of “Toys”has opened a window of curiosity as to whether his ideology is true. The idea that children are perceived as a “homunculus”in the eyes of an adult is quite intriguing and when thought about, true. It has opened my eyes to the society in which we live and how our children are unconsciously brain-washed into believing what older generations believe to be ‘normalities’. This makes improvement of traditional societal norms to be slow and challenging.


I struggle to write detailed enough notes during the talks which led to misunderstanding and lose knowledge of the subject at hand. I have found this has limited my comparative skills and so hindered my essay. I have also struggled with illness the past few weeks so have missed a few lectures. I think in the future I will contact my tutor for the information needed. I found the PowerPoints very useful during this time however, most information was not on them because the talks were discussions and so hindering my advantage more.

How I feel now

I now feel more confident in ‘Perception in Practice’because the different talks attended have given me different ideas from a range of artists in different disciplines. I think this subject is important for my career pathway because it looks into how we see our own ‘reality’and how be interpret that which is around us. I feel patients will express their feelings of ‘reality’through their work during their course of art therapy.


I think I was able to link the Gestalt Theory confidently to my practice because it talks greatly about the psychological process and how each individual perceives differently. As a Fine Artist, I feel I attempt this in my own work and allow the audience to interpret it in their own way. I think I have been able to bring a different approach to the theory has it was presented by a designer. As a Fine artist, the theory interprets a different approach of seeing perception because I started to look into the idea of externalisation and creating controversial or thought-provoking artwork to raise a response from the audience. The speaker found this quite intriguing and “an interesting approach to the subject”.


To improve my essay and writing ability on this subject, I want to carry out more intense research and gather more knowledge of other ideologies in order to critique the subject more confidently. I feel I would be able to write a more analytical piece with a better understanding of it, so, in the next few weeks I will be researching more theorists and their opinions on the subject of perception in art. I think watching videos of critiques will help to conform my answers in a more academic way and help to me focus answers concisely.

Questions for tutor

  1. Can you give me the names of any theorists with similar ideologies to the Gestalt Theory?
  2. In what ways can I improve my analytical writing skills?
  3. Are there any controversial ideologies are there about perception compared to the ones used in my essay?

Challenges with reading/writing

I find academic writing quite a challenge as an artist because the way I perceive ‘reality’in the mind is different to the way it should be written in an essay. I think I here to practice my writing technique by reading more academic articles by philosophers. I find I repeat myself and waffle to bulk out an essay. I think I need to be more precise when writing and clearly convey my point with an explanation and example as well as, linking it back to the question.

Ability to make links between Practice and Theory

I feel ‘Perception in Practice’is easier for me and more interesting to link to my own experimentation because my work is conceptual and is a result of my own perception. The subject has enabled me to think about how we perceive matters of ‘reality’and has made me think about how I want to show the world my interpretations. Not only this, but I am starting to notice more around me; matters I wouldn’t have given attention to before the start of this term. I feel the subject has broaden my visual perception and therefore, improving more creative ideas and themes.



The ways in which different artists engage with the idea of perception

Yayoi Kusama: Obliteration Room

Yayoi Kusama has been known for her extravagant patterns predominantly of spots. Her work portrays her past and the hallucinations she encounters throughout her adult life. However, the video we watched show a new piece of work which involved the audience on a more direct way. The work started as a white room with white furniture – no colour, no character no nothing. The audience were given a range of spots chosen by the artist herself and invited to place the spots anywhere in the room. This engaged the audience allowing for their input/ideas/creativity to be added to another’s art. Kusama is very well known for the patterns but has allowed the audience to freely place the spots in any place they wish which has put a great twist on her work and allows her to see others’ creativity. I think Kusama is trying out this form of perception to create something each conveys an element of many different people’s ideologies and perceptions.

Bjork: Stonemilker (360-degree virtual reality)

This music video provided the audience with the opportunity to use the virtual reality technology and pivot themselves. This gives control to the viewer making the piece more interactive and gives a more realistic feeling of being involved in the art. It gives you the opportunitiy to either watched the singer and engaged with her or to explore the surroundings and environment the piece is recorded in. I find it gives the piece a warm welcoming feeling. The use of VR provides a unique way of allowing the audience to interact with the art and therefore creating a reality without the viewer physically being in the location. The use of new technology in art is enabling the viewer to understanding and react to art more easily and is making it more intriguing for those less able to understand conceptual creativity.

Aakash Nihalani Arte 3D Con Cinta Adhesiva 

This piece of art played with the concept of cartoon collaborating into reality. The images give the impression that this could be be the norm. I feel the artist is trying to bring a sense of fun and entertainment into art. With the bright colours on the dull backgrounds of architecture and landscape I can tell Nihalani is trying to capture the attention of those who past his work as they walk down the street. As the  bright colours attracts an audience it gives them the opportunity to interact with the work in different ways. This could be physically – take photos with the work in different poses – or mentally where they start to think about how they work makes them feel. The colour on the dull background creates a sense of depth and a 3 dimensional effect. I feel the artist is attempting to engage the audience in a more literal way which I feel makes the concept of the art more accessible for everyone. This also makes the work more memorable as the audience is likely to concentration on it whereas, a painting or a drawing on a wall can be looked over.

Perception in Practice: Week 1

Catherine Belsey stated that “there is no practice without theory”. I agree with Belsey because all art and design has a purpose or a concept behind it. All of my work has a concept, a response to an issue. I think this is what makes art art; it gives it meaning, purpose, a way for the audience to understand it. Even the things we take for granted, things we aren’t consciously aware of have a theory behind them.

Roland Barthes, the French literary theorist, talks about how children are “a homunculus”, a “microcosm of the adult world”. It explains that children are a smallest version of man. He goes on to talk about how children’s toys are “constituted by myths r techniques of modern adult life” meaning that these toys portray everyday jobs and systems of the modern man including:

  • Military
  • Postman
  • Fireman
  • Schools
  • Transport (trains, cars, trunks and buses)
  • Hairstyling

“These toys show what adults find not unusual, war, ugliness etc.”.

Even today young girls are unconsciously shown how to rear a baby with the new babydoll’s which urinate, cried and can even be fed. So many children have these toys and yet they are told not to get pregnant at a young age and to always use protection? This is contradictory don’t you think? I understand that girls may need help/guidance when it comes to having a baby but from such a young age? No. Times have change, society has change from the ideology that woman are baby makers.

Anyway, back on topic, all of the toys we play with as a child in the modern society, are replicas of issues with deal with as adults. We give our children toy soldiers, plastic guns and town builds with burning buildings and destruction. Is this a way of showing young people what normality is in our world? Or are we even conscious of the fact that this is what they are exposed to?

I feel more research on the matter is needed and the opinions of other theorists to develop my own opinion.

Analysing my Second Semester 1000 formative assessment

Over the past four months I have continued to develop my skills and ideas as an artist by collaborating with other courses, testing out new skills and improving my current collage and expressive painting skills. The projects were very intense and moved at a fast pace because we had a lot of work to compete in such a short period of time.

I found the field project quite challenging because everyone in my groups had very different ideas and ways of working so coming up with a collaboration sometimes proved difficult. I found it hard to work with a few of the other students because they weren’t enthusiastic or motivated to work as a group in a discipline they aren’t particularly interested in. The projects were only a week long which was great for a taster into each subject especially for first year however, it didn’t give much time to develop ideas and create a piece. Despite this, the project did make us think quickly and work together to produce the art. It also allowed me to grasp an understanding of other disciplines in the university. Although the field project did have its negatives I did really enjoy this time because I was able to produce some really cool experimental work. I mostly enjoyed the Fine art field project because it was more my style of work and we were able to produce more conceptual work using photography, video and performance. It may seem bias to say I mostly enjoyed the Fine art project but I felt it was more intense and we produce a range of different piece of work within the time period and not just one piece. I felt the ceramics project was a little too basic because we didn’t get time to fire and glaze the work so I felt it was very rushed and unfinished however, the photographs we got from the work were very interesting and abstract!

Although the field was not perfect and had a few flaws, I did enjoy its because it introduced me to a few new skills with clay in ceramics and maker. I find my work can be a little messy so working with students from Artist Designer Maker helped me to think about the presentation and layout of my own work, Working with my hands in ceramics meant I was able to mould a range of interesting shapes. The theme of the projects remain the same and was based around light however, they didn’t necessarily have too be linked. We were able to explore light in many different ways in each discipline – we explored light and abstract shadows in ceramics, changes of architecture using a pinhole camera in Artist Designer Maker and how light changes the mood and emotion of a person or atmosphere in Fine Art.

After the field workshops we started the second module of the year – The consolidation project. I felt this module started off a little slow because we were looking at a few collage techniques with just image before incorporating paint and other materials including packaging, newspaper, coloured paper and bubble wrap. I have completed a lot of collage in the past as part of GCSE and A Level so I thought the beginning of the project was a little tedious because it didn’t particularly challenge me. This part of the project also didn’t have much of a theme either meaning all of my work was random and experimental. In terms of experimenting with collage, it was a great way to start however, I knew pretty quickly that I needed a theme to focus on. After watching a programme on women’s rights (100 years of Votes for women, BBC) I decided to focus my work on this – which also feeds into my interest in political and social art.

I started to research the suffragette movement and began to experiment with imagery and paint. I mostly used reds when adding the paint because it represented the violence and trauma many women went through in order to get the vote for women in the UK. The images provided a range of key events throughout that time. Most of the photographs were black and white as they were from the early 20th century which showed the time they were from. Also, my printer stopped working properly so many of the images came out distorted giving them a vintage look which worked in my favour because it added to the atmosphere I was attempting to create. During my research I realised although these incredible women were successful in their acts, it was only for a small number of people of a certain class and status who were able to vote. It isn’t recognised much but, black women were not given the vote until the National Citizen Act of 1983. In current news, British citizens of Jamaican origin are being deported even though they have legal right to remain in the UK and have served the country in many ways throughout history.

I enjoyed this term more than I enjoyed the first term because I was able to experiment with a wider range of skills within and outside of my discipline which gave me an insight to what I am exposed to and what is on offer to me at the university. The consolidation project was longer than the material project we completed in the first term giving us more time to develop ideas and themes and to complete a better more thought through final piece. I am going to continue the theme of the suffragettes and women’s right and will research the topic more intensely as well as continuing the collage route and producing a due drawings for the final exhibition because I think it is very intense topic which I could research and explore for a long time but I want to express my feelings and responses to the ongoing movement in a image of different ways including collage, drawing, painting and sculpture. For the exhibition I am going to produce a large drawing which is overpowering and expressive as a response to the movement in the early 29th Century.

How do you imagine the future?

The future is imagined in so many different ways by different people: scientists, artists, environmentalists and the government. With the way things are going in terms of global warming, climate change and mass production the future is uncertain. Campaigns, awareness and frameworks are in place to help reduce the increase damage to our world but with growing productions and the expansion of companies, destruction and damage is still causes a massive problem.

Artists have been approaching the problem over many centuries. Joseph Gandy produced work set in the future however, the people in the paintings are living the same lifestyle as though in his day. The work shows no progression  because the building looks as though they are from Ancient Rome and show the slow deterioration if buildings and society.

Zhan Wang is a contemporary artist who created an animation which portrayed the future as a clean, colourful happy environment. The work is very optimistic and shows a positive view of what the future could look like. If society changed the way we do this and how much we use, the future could indeed look like this but people need to be education in order to change our ways. The animation showed us using materials and resources sourced from the moon which implies we have used up all of our natural resources through industry, exploitation and consumption. Although the piece provides a positive light on the future it does also show what might happen if we continue to consume as much as we do and this increasing rate.

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