Purposeful Distractions (In-progress)

  • Purposeful Distractions 
  • This body of work is in-progress and will be shown at the end of February in the Riggs-Leidy Gallery at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
  • At the onset of this project I watched a TED Talk about “emotional first aid” by a psychologist named Guy Winch, and in this talk he offered a simple idea that really stuck with me. He shared, 

    "Studies tell us that even a two-minute distraction is sufficient to break the urge to ruminate in that moment. And so each time I had a worrying, upsetting, negative thought, I forced myself to concentrate on something else until the urge passed. And within one week, my whole outlook changed and became more positive and more hopeful.” 

    I decided to try it, and began to employ a “two-minute distraction” whenever feelings of hopelessness, fear, anxiety, etc. felt a little too all encompassing. The place I most frequently began to go in these 120 second spurts was an imagined home where I might live one day. I tried keeping steady focus, expounding in my mind on what would it look like, where it would be, and how it would feel. Eventually, I just had to put pencil to paper and began sketching out what I envisioned. While I have always had a sketchbook practice, this was a very deliberate endeavor focused on distraction, or so I thought. As I continued this practice, the images began to include fond memories, people, and even simple observational landscapes once again. I found that what I first turned to as a diversion from life was actually a ritual act of care that helped me to remain more present and grounded in my moments. 

    To me, this work is a celebration and demonstration of how engaging in creating art can deeply enrich people’s lives and encourage an appreciation for the many mysteries and dilemmas that come with it.