The Playful and Technological Side of Art and Healing

Technology is changing fast and artists have joined the bandwagon of using it in their art. Recently I attended the annual conference of the Global Alliance for Art and Health. One of the sessions I attended was on art in the hospice and palliative are arena. An artist, one of the presenters shared her use of technology for using technology with patients, and how it impacts her own work.

The iPad has given many individuals and agencies a new medium for creating art. The apps available on electronic devices provide us with new ways not only to create art, but also to save it and print it. Our iPads can be the new incarnation of the sketchbook, the canvas, or even the portfolio.

I was introduced to the app Paper 53. It gives you the opportunity to create journals with a host of tools. The app gives us all the opportunity to play with art. It’s almost like the adult version of an Etch-A-Sketch. You can create pictures (without the knobs and more fluid lines) and if you don’t like it simply erase what you’ve designed. What’s also great about art apps is the opportunity to print your masterpieces.

Artist Sheila Elias is an artist who uses her iPad for the basis of many of her works. A critic says that Elias is painting the optimism of life when most are painting about pessimism in life. This is important because even if you are facing adversity, such as a health challenge, you can still come from a place of optimism. If you were painting “hope” what would it look like?

Hospices are beginning to provide iPads for patients so they can create art allowing them to tell their stories and share their experiences. It’s easy because all you need is an iPad and your finger. There is no mess and you don’t need a lot of supplies. It’s giving palliative care units and hospices new avenues for alleviating stress and fear. It allows patients to create for joy, meditation, and stress reduction.

Many of the apps are free and this makes it accessible. The more ways we have to create is healing for all of us. It provides one more outlet for our personal self-expression!

**Note: If you’re a musician, there are apps for composing music, tuning your instruments, and recording**

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