You guys might remember when I started out working with the juvies and I was contemplating the use of carving tools with deliquents. *(If you haven't read that post, it's one of my best AND has an awesome dialog throughout the comments from my beautiful readers).
Well since then, I've been steadily at it. Now I'm doing some one-on-one art with a girl I call "Pinky" on Tuesday mornings.
These kids have shown me so much. It's been fascinating to watch how an hour or two of art can completley decompress hostility, anger, or hyperactivity. Being the dorky textbook psychologist that I am, I was sort of expecting that they'd make a bunch of stereotypical angry shit like you see in movies.
But you know what they've been making? They've been making hearts, initials + initials, and postcards for their moms. Sweet, loving stuff that shows me they need connection. Not one of them palmed the carving blades and tried to harvest my organs. Shame on me for even joking.
Instead, one little boy insisted I take a photo from his collection of zoo animals. This might not sound like any big deal, until you realize this kid doesn't have any other possessions. And Pinky? She shyly presented me with a piece of chocolate she had saved just me for. She also writes me little notes in English exclaiming, "I like you!" These gestures are so grand because they're being generous with the very little that they have.
It has been one of the most rewarding and interesting things I've ever experienced.
Pinky and I made some cool accordion style books to keep the ATCs we're planning on trading. I constructed the sewn covers at home, but we worked on the inner folded pages together. I brought hers last week since mine wasn't finished yet. She doesn't know that I saved the little collage she made of a dog with a rhino horn on it's head saying "cool." I think she's going to be surprised and happy that my book has her artwork on the cover. The word "loathe" is also super interesting to me. I wonder if she knows what it means. Makes me think of love-hate knuckles.
Saturday I bought her very first Moleskin and am going to bring my journals in and show her the secrets to putting thoughts and ideas and feelings in the pages. I hope she "gets into it." Wish me luck!
PS - want to meet an artist who is an actual mental health professional? Check out this amazing interesting podcast with Seth Apter from The Altered Page. I've just been informed that a submission of mine will be included in the Style File section of his Artist Pulse so lets keep an eye for the 24th when it's coming out. And since I'm no longer a conscientious facebook objector, I also follow The Altered Page on Facebook!