Marija loves to use texture, mixed media and acrylic paint to create abstract art paintings. She encourages everyone to touch her art to get the full experience. More recently she has been exploring combining more realistic drawings that she creates into her abstract paintings, which provides a unique blend of abstract and realism. Marija is often inspired by nature and animals.
She is a predominately self-taught artist, who has experience with various mediums such as spray paint, charcoal, pencil crayon, pencil, pastel, and water-colour. However, attending an abstract art painting class at the Alberta University of the Arts, is when she truly found her passion. Shortly after Marija sold her paintings at the Christmas Calgary Market Collective and sold out of all her original paintings. This prompted her to focus more on her passion for art and talent for giving advice and providing an empathic ear. Not long after she applied to the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute and moved to Vancouver to complete a post-graduate diploma in Art Therapy. After completing 430 hours of practicum experience and all classroom courses, she is now in the process of completing her final project, marking the last step to graduation. During class studies, Marija entered the 2017 Art Here Competition and made it to the final round, placing 15th overall, with over 3,000 initial artworks in for the running. Shortly after she attended the Emily Carr University of Art + Design and completed a course specializing in painting techniques. Marija plans to continue her art practice and sell online and in local markets and enter various art competitions while working on her Art Therapy final project.
10% of each sale will be donated to INSPIRE!africa an amazing not-for-profit organization that helps widows and orphans of the Rwandan Genocide.
Marija was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 2016 to pursue an education in Art Therapy and currently resides in Coquitlam.
"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for"
Art Therapy Case Study
Vancouver Art Therapy Institute Clinic
There was a lot going on for my client this day. They were working through feelings of being overwhelmed with work, school and personal life. The letters represented how they felt everything was coming down on them. And the colours coming out of their mouth represented all the emotions and feelings they wanted to express but couldn't verbally.
My client set out to make something ugly, which was incredibility freeing. They explored materials and textures and even sounds. It was nice for them to not have to create something beautiful for a change, compared to their own art practice where they wouldn't stop painting until they thought it was good enough to hang in their own home.
My client came into this session rather grumpy so they wanted to work on that and create something that showed how they felt. Soft and comforting on the outside, but filled with things that prick inside.
Working through some feelings of anxiety my client created a piece that showed how they were feeling, with a life-line (string) coming out of the middle so someone, or themselves could rescue them. The knotted yarn in the middle representing their anxiety, the fire representing the wall they have built around their anxiety, and the water representing their ability to calm themselves down.
This piece is around my client struggling with some tough decisions around finding a job and next steps in their life after graduation. The umbrella is a metaphor for their support system who protect them from all the negative words and things raining down on them.
My client wanted to represent herself with flowers. They had always brought her joy and she had a particularly good week. When discussing her artwork past family experiences were brought up and discussed on how they affect her today.
What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy uses the process of artistic creation to facilitate self-expression, self-exploration, and transformation. The goal of art-making is to access one's inner world and emotions. Sometimes there are no words that can properly express what you are feeling, and that's where the use of paint, clay, crayons, markers, feathers, and buttons come in. Different mediums can help express what is inside.
Art therapy can be used with people of all ages; in groups, one-on-one, couples, and families. It can help with a wide range of personal and relationship issues, but can also be used for personal growth, improving well-being, and creative exploration. Participating in art therapy does not require skill or prior experience in art as it is primarily about personal expression.
What Could an Art Therapy Session Look Like?
A session can go two ways. It can be approached with an art directive (an art project) or the client can create whatever they like. Sometimes an art directive is used when the client is perhaps not feeling as creative. Art directives can help guide a client through the art-making process and can help the client focus on a certain issue. Whether an art directive is used or not an hour-long one-on-one session with me generally looks like this:
Opening - I may start with a poem, a quick breathing exercise and a check-in regarding how the client is feeling and what they may want to concentrate on today
Middle - The client works on art (any medium), and often there is talk therapy during the process of making art
Review - Before the session ends, I will ask the client to tell me about the art they created. I'll have questions and provide support
Closing - I will usually end with a grounding exercise so the client leaves feeling grounded and ready to take on the day
There are of course group sessions as well, which would follow a similar pattern, however accounting for the fact that there are more people, so sessions are often longer than a one-on-one session. Groups tend to have a common theme, such as a depression group, or addictions group.
Does Art Therapy Work?
Yes, art therapy works. But just like any therapy, the true work lies with the client being ready to work on their issues. Having clear goals that are developed along side the Art Therapist can help guide the sessions and help with healing. The very process of making art can behave as a buffer between the therapist and the client, making the client feel more comfortable to talk about their issues as sometimes anxiety can hinder the client from opening up, the art can act as a calming technique.
Coquitlam, BC, Canada