Meet Antoinette Arsic, Brain Injury Survivor and winner of the BIS Has Talent Art Exhibition in the category “art” in 2022!
How is your approach to creativity different after a brain injury?
Before my brain injury, I counted on my brain to think ahead and to hold multiple ideas at once. Now, to avoid being overwhelmed, I take things slower. When I started drawing in September 2022, I felt dizzy and realized I was holding my breath! I had to learn to relax. At first, I wasn’t happy that my drawings didn’t look like those of artists who had practiced for years. Then, one day, when I was about to scrap a drawing, I just let go. I got bolder, drew heavier and faster, and discovered how this new way of drawing created depth! I let go of the fear and forgot about the outcome.
Describe your creative process. Discuss your inspiration, thoughts on discipline or how you dedicate time to create, and barriers to creativity.
I am not able to have consistency or dedicate time to create regularly because my older dog has a lot of needs, and since her partner of sixteen years died, she’s less independent. She hates it when I write or draw! It takes my attention away from her, and that’s hard for her emotionally. I try to draw when she is sleeping and after I’ve had a good rest, for about 45 minutes a day if I can.
My inspiration is always my last drawing, and thinking about my next drawing. When I close my eyes at night, I find that I can’t stop drawing in my mind! I also like looking at what others have done who have never drawn before for inspiration. Sometimes, I find myself comparing my art to others, but I try to keep my thoughts constructive, focusing on where I can do better or where I can improve. I watch a lot of YouTube videos on the processes of other artists – I want to keep learning!
Antoinette finds inspiration on Instagram and has an account where you can view examples of her breathtaking art! Check it out here: https://www.instagram.com/artbyantoinette2023/.
In your own words, describe the relationship between creative expression and empowerment.
Purpose. But the purpose comes from within – not from the outside world. A chance to let go – be my true self and explore, live in the moment, and just get lost in it. I know that I can’t always do the things that other people can do, but creative expression lets me show myself to the world in a unique way. It helps me remember that others can’t always do the things that I can do – and no one else can be me, either.
Describe your experience participating in BIS Has Talent 2022.
The 2022 BIS Has Talent Art Exhibition opened a whole world to me – not just as an artist but as a part of Brain Injury Services. I’d started a sketch and had not intended on finishing it until the Art Exhibition was open to all BIS clients. This inspired me to search the Internet more about colored pencil drawing, and I finished the sketch! I was just so glad to be able to participate. I finished something. And I won! That was the biggest shock of all. That people felt something from looking at what I created.
What do you want to share with other brain injury survivors who might be considering participating in a future BIS Has Talent Art Exhibition?
Do it! It’s fun to be a part of something new that other people are participating in. You might find a new passion or hobby that you had not thought of before that could help you get through a hard day or even provide an escape from the challenges that being a brain injury survivor can throw on you.
To learn more about the BIS Has Talent Art Exhibition and Creativity Showcase, visit www.braininjurysvcs.org/bis-has-talent/.