For the past six years, Patricia has been part of the Rendez-Vous Arts program (RVA), which offers art classes to adults struggling with various health and mental issues. The idea is to improve the quality of life for the RVA participants through artistic expression. In a world where one’s value in society is increasingly based on one’s ability to work, Patricia’s experience with art is very refreshing. She describes five reasons why art matters to her:
- Art is identity
I put in my art all my time and all my energy. All my life is around my art: make sure I have a surface to paint or draw; make sure I have all the colors that I need; make sure I have brushes available. Art now more than ever defines me because it’s what I do with most of my time.
Patricia comes from Peru where, she explains, parents want their children to make money. Even though she has many diplomas, she realized that being stressed out about her finances was not making her happy. As Patricia dedicated more and more time to art, her confidence increased. Confidence is a great asset that has impacted her quality of life in a positive way.
- Art is activism
It’s a constant effort to enhance your art because the nicer it is the more the public is going to like it. If I do a logo for people to adopt and not buy, or to go vegan, it has to be good enough for people to remember not only the art but also the message.
Patricia mentions that there are two things that she likes most in the world: animals and art. In her artwork, she combines both animal representations and pro-veganism illustrations. She explains that animals were poorly treated back in her country; now, she uses these difficult memories in a constructive way.
- Art is consciousness
Art is nice but for me, even more important, is trying to help. I can’t contribute economically to animal organizations, but at least I can try to influence the mind of the public.
When Patricia arrived in Canada, she fell ill and could not work anymore. As she is not very comfortable with social interactions, it became hard for her to find a job. So, art came out as a solution to work within her limitations.
- Art is healing
It’s hard to know what people think, even your family. When you have a mental illness, they will never tell you “oh I’m disappointed because you didn’t get a regular job”. They will never tell you.
The Rendez-Vous Arts program benefits Patricia in many ways. Firstly, it gave a structure to her artistic pursuing. With the help of an experienced artist, she is guided and supported from the very first stages of art-making to the exhibition. Secondly, and most importantly, the environment provided by RVA is a safe space for participants to share their story and feel accepted the way they are.
- Art is truth
There’s always that social pressure when you try to compare yourself to others. If you don’t succeed, there are labels. And even if people don’t tell you, you feel the pressure to the point you break yourself. Now that I’m by myself, it’s more my decision-thing according to what I realize. I find I live a more happy life, a more true life to myself and everybody else. Before, in Peru, nobody knew I had something. Now, I’m like “look I’m an artist, I have a mental illness and I’m not ashamed.” It’s not a big deal anymore.
With Christmas coming around the corner, you definitely want to have a look at Patricia’s artist page. Beautiful paintings and drawings are available for sale. The hardest decision you’ll have to make is whether you give the painting to a friend or purchase it as a treat for yourself!
You can follow Patricia’s work on the online platforms down below: