Art Therapy

As it’s Mental Health Awareness Week I thought I’ll write about something that has been helping with my recovery and PTSD.

Starkers hosts life drawing events tailored to the LGBTQI+ community making it open to everyone to enjoy, plus their motto is can’t draw? Who cares .

The first night I went was Starkers Academy where two new models tried their hands at life modelling. I found it hard to get into the rhythm of drawing in a certain time limit. At the break I had to leave as I had a flashback of being stuck in the car making the room seem claustrophobic and trapped in. I stood outside panicing, crying and trying to catch my breath back. My friends who I was with helped me calm down, once I was calm I managed to back in and draw. I felt relaxed more relaxed than I have in a while. This was quiet an achievement for me to be able to return to somewhere I had a flashback in.

The second time I went was Warrior and maybe that was a sign as I didn’t have a panic attack or flashback. I felt safe and relaxed that I don’t feel a majority of the time. At Starkers you start off with 2 minute sketches, then 10, 15 and finally 20. This really helps you’re mind set go from a stressful work day to relaxing into the drawing.

My friend jokingly says it’s her therapy but she’s completely right, you’re mind is focused on drawing the model in front of you and everything else fades away.

The latest Starkers class was The Princess Girly Doll Show, questioning what it is means to be woman. Lidia, the model, brought props in every shade of pink imaginable from headless Barbies to monstrous dildos. This week was the most enjoyable for me, for different reasons. Drawing “female” bodies is more natural for me and so enjoyed the freedom of drawing someone who was experimenting with the female gender. These life drawing classes also mean I can experiment with drawing easily in time limits making drawings more fun and expressive. The other reason I enjoyed it was because they screened Not Every Princess Needs A Prince a film I created with Alexandra Penelope about the representation of queer women and sexuality in media and specifically animation. You can watch our film below or at The Glory on 12th June at Queerly Beloved: Animated Affair a queer animation film festival.

Starkers is an unique event as its open and welcoming making you feel at home quickly. Roy and Leo the leaders of Starkers are friendly and excited to see everyone’s work making it feel like a community. Plus Roy makes amazing Spotify playlists themed around each week. Starkers is every Tuesday at The Glory.

I highly recommend life drawing classes to anyone who is suffering or affected by mental health.