Creative Exercise: Image Awareness

Humans tend to collect or hold on to things that are important to them. We place personal value and meaning on objects that we keep in our homes or offices. My walls are lined with prints and canvases from places I've lived or travelled. I have a collection of photographs on canvas that I took during the three years I lived in Guam. These images are all over-saturated, shotty attempts at HDR and no longer represent my voice as an artist; however, at the time, I was proud of these images. They're a part of me, a representation of both my time spent overseas and my growth as a photographer. I display them with pride front and center in my living room- they're often the first thing that guests will notice. On an adjacent wall is a collection of framed prints created by local artists from various places I've visited over the years. Travel s important to me, as is supporting local art; I want to see the places I visit as it's locals do.

Family is important to me. I have family images printed on wood hanging in the dining area as well as an assortment of frames displaying photographs on a shelf near the fireplace.

Colors are important to me. I'm particularly drawn to a certain shade of blue that you will find sporadically throughout my home.

what about you?

How do the images that you surround yourself with invoke certain emotions? What do you surround yourself with? Why did you choose those images to hold on to? Answer the following questions:

  1. Pick out a part of your home or work environment where you spend most of your time. Look around at the images in that space (photos, calendars, artist prints, cards, etc.) and make a short list of the ones that catch your eye. Notice if there are any particular colors, themes, textures, or shapes that you see within this space and list them.
  2. Take some time to write down a few phrases about each image or object. Try to note why you like each one.
  3. What images would you like to have around you that you do not see in your environment right now? Are there some that you have already but would like to have more of?
  4. Choose on image and look at it for a few minutes. What feelings does this image invoke? Is there anything you could change about it to invoke different emotions?

[Exercise adapted from The Art Therapy Sourcebook by Cathy Malchiodi]