Queen's students use art to cure quarantine blues

Reflecting on the therapeutic power of artistic expression

Queen's students use art as therapy
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Although quarantine measures have many students feeling trapped, some Queen’s students are staving off feelings of anxiety or boredom by turning to art as a form of self-therapy.  

The Journal spoke to Claire Parsons, a third-year politics student, Erin Marcia, a Bachelor of Education student, and Nick Brown, a fourth-year geological engineering student about the role of art in their lives during the age of social distancing. 

When the winter semester went remote in March, Parsons returned to her home in Toronto lamenting the loss of her reliable daily routine, which she considers important to her mental health. 

“Without [a routine], it’s hard to not get restless and overwhelmed,” Parsons said. “When I can take an hour out of my day to paint something or write a story, I can dive intothe process…it takes your mind off it all.” 

Along with painting and creative writing, Parsons is also a trained singer, a craft which she describes as a “physical release.” 

For Parsons, the arts have been integral to coping with the uncertainty of living through a pandemic because she “can take all those restless, scared, and nervous feelings and channel them into something beautiful.” 

While the COVID-19 crisis is less than ideal, and many people like Parsons are feeling anxious, Erin Marcia, a digital artist, is grateful that the quarantine has afforded her extra time to experiment with different styles.  

Marcia told The Journal that before the crisis, she struggled to find the motivation to create for her own enjoyment. Instead, she would often produce artwork to give away as gifts. But now that she has so much extra time on her hands, she’s using it to broaden her array of digital design skills. 

“I have been exploring different styles that are outside of my comfort zone, such as vintage lettering and portraits,” Marcia said. “I find myself working hard to practice these new styles and techniques which I wouldn’t have had time to do before.”

Marcia is pleased that she’s making the most of a bad situation by strengthening her abilities. 

“My art has been motivating me, challenging me, and making me happy to see improvements in new styles. I’m grateful for the amount I’ve been able to create, learn, and practice during quarantine.”

For Nick Brown, the greatest challenge that social distancing measures have brought him is boredom, but he says that making art goes a long way to prevent him from feeling like he’s stagnating.

“While being stuck in quarantine, I have turned to using a few forms of art to help pass the time. I draw, write poetry and songs, and play a few instruments,” Brown said. 

“Drawing and playing instruments are what I use to stop myself from getting too bored as I don’t need to think while doing it and it is quite fun.” 

As with Parsons’ singing, Brown said his art provides a much-needed release during the international health crisis. 

“For writing poetry and songs, I’ve found that they act as a way for me to let my inner thoughts out of my head and to help just vent all my life problems. It definitely works for me.”

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