Everyone deals with grief differently. Some people turn inwards to retreat into themselves, while others throw themselves into a new endeavor to try and silence the pain.
Although many artists may think that the way to work through their grief is to push through the pain, this could make you feel worse. To get some insight into how artists turn their grief into beauty, let’s look at a few artists who have recently suffered a loss. See how they use these unfortunate circumstances to create beautiful memories of those they’ve lost.
Richard Saunders took the love for his deceased cat to new heights by creating surreal images. His project, The Topiary Cat, replaces plants from real images with giant bushes in the shape of his cat Tolly. While he continues to miss Tolly terribly, having her live on through his artwork is one way to keep the memories of her alive.
Some artists may struggle to express their feelings about their loss or find the words to describe how they feel. This is the case with artist Sharon Strousse. Two decades ago, she faced a traumatic loss when she lost her 17-year-old daughter to suicide.
She felt that her entire identity was turned on its head and struggled to find the words to express herself. Then, one night while she was in her kitchen, she began creating collages with words that resonated with her feelings at the time. These collages later became part of The Artful Grief collection, a set of collages that helped her work through her emotions.
Expressing grief in art forms isn’t limited to modern-day artists. A painting known around the world for expressing grief is Pablo Picasso’s Guernica painting. The painting depicts suffering and destruction in abstract forms, but the artist’s feelings are clear as day.
Picasso channeled the grief and anger he felt over the Nazi bombing of a small Spanish village. When he created this painting, it might have just been a healthy way for him to get his feelings down on paper. However, this painting has gone on to become one of the most well-known anti-war paintings in history.
The Alchemists Pottery
Sometimes, the way to heal from your grief is to involve others in the healing process. This is what the artist behind The Alchemists Pottery has done. In 2019, he dealt with the loss of a loved one. While working through his grief, he included his followers in a particular form of raku firing. His readers were invited to send in a word that resonated with the type of healing they were seeking or a type of grief they were currently working through. Through the collective participation with his audience, many people were able to go through the healing process together.
While it can be challenging to overcome grief alone, there are many ways that artists are currently turning sad situations into beautiful forms of art.