Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Meet Diane Fleisch Hughes, an Art Therapist and a Stella's Art Gallery Artist.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”  Thomas Merton

      I have been an artist all my life, I remember collecting sketchbooks as a youth and my parents enrolling me in all kinds of different art classes. It is where I felt most comfortable and in control. All of that practice led me to art school (FIT – NYC BFA in illustration) and continuing my practice as the years went by and life happened.


     I went back to school after my four children had reached a certain age, in order to satisfy my creative side as well as be involved in a helping profession that served others. I found that through the Art Therapy and Counseling program at Ursuline College. Not only does this profession help with the mental health of others, but it encourages self-care and sustaining individual creativity. In other words, I can heal others and also satisfy my own self expression.


    My subject is the figure. I am fascinated by the shapes, lines and colors that make up the human figure. The figure in its environment. How it fits, how it reacts, what colors embody both of those elements. I am a mixed media artist, using objects, papers, different paints and materials to tell the story of a person or group of people in their environment. I find that this is a good way to process the service learning trips I have been on where I have traveled with a group of Art Therapist to places like El Salvador, Zimbabwe Africa and the Cheyenne River Reservation in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. After completing these trips and working with the people there, I am able to create paintings about how it felt to be there, the people who had a great impact on me, the life and the land that I was exposed to. It is a humbling experience when strangers from another country let you into their lives and share their story. I hope that shows through my artwork.


    I work full time as an Art Therapist at Julie Billiart School – a K-8 school for special needs children.  I encourage the children to express themselves, think out of the box, try new things, sensory play, social skills, collaborative play and community involvement. They amaze me every day with their unique imaginations and courage as they try to help themselves and others. I also see private clients at the Fine Arts Association and hopefully, soon, at my studio in the Matchworks Building. I am a big advocate of community based art – working together to build and strengthen community while creating a beautiful collaborative piece. It is a non-threatening way to give back, get involved or find a safe space within a group of like minded people.
Upcoming events – I have been invited to be a part of the New York Studio Schools Drawing Marathon in June. This is a two week intensive drawing workshop that is shared among twenty artists.  The drawing is every day from 9am – 6pm with critiques in the evening from 7pm – 9pm. I am excited and nervous (and exhausted!) just thinking about it!
   I will also be a part of a group show at Stella’s Gallery - Size Matters! In June, reception Friday June8th.

Please come visit my studio and the gallery at Stella’s in the Matchworks Building! Until then, I will see you around Cleveland at all of the art events, please stop and say hi!


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