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Last Update: February 9, 2015

2015 Recovery Art Challenge


Welcome to the Addiction and Art Website



Recovery Art Challenge: The Concept, the Results

Artworks to help the world visualize recovery are needed now more than ever. At this moment in time we continue to be faced with the grim fact that 1 in 5 deaths are either directly or indirectly related to substance abuse: over dosing (heroin fatalities are skyrocketing), strokes, cancers, murders, accidents. Both the download gallery www.addictionandart.org and the book Addiction and Art have published artworks related to addiction and recovery. Artwork submissions have been very heavy on the angst of addiction. Very few submissions have addressed the joy of recovery. We believe images of angst have a place in generating the dialogue necessary for understanding and change, but we also believe that discussing artworks with positive content could be more than useful in helping an individual positively visualize his/her own recovery.

We were more than ready when Washington DC area poet of ARTOMATIC fame, BRASH suggested a challenge. BRASH was familiar with the angst driven images (having written poetry for a number of them), and suggested that a poem about recovery could possibly inspire the much needed recovery related art. In September of 2014, BRASH’s superb poem “The Journey” appeared on our site with an artist’s challenge – due February 1, 2015.

Today, we are privileged to present a new crop of recovery related artworks to the world.

A masterly painted, uplifting work, by Mano Sotelo offers a philosophical message: move past your past and your thoughts of the future, concentrate on today. A brave self-portrait by former Heroin addict, Joel Michael Sutton tells us that recovery is possible - with help. Contemporary realist, Debra Keirce, shares a variety of beautifully painted symbolic images in which threatening presences are always balanced by hope. Anelia Crawford’s Recovery, a thought provoking narrative, utilizes a variety of symbols including a tiny tree growing from a bolder reminding us of the innate courage and strength within us all. Abstract works celebrating life by Amy Thompson illustrate that non-objective works can also ‘speak’ to us - touching our souls. Taking Flight by Victoria Pendragon is visual poetry in motion – one can feel the FREEDOM she understands. And Recovery Is... by our own www.addictionandart.org webmaster, Don Dunsmore, brilliantly reinforces the concept of recovery as a never ending process.

BRAVO to these artists! We are delighted to give your important works and stories wings through this site. We have a world-wide audience – and we can only imagine the myriad of discussions your works will generate across the planet.

Artists interested in contributing additional recovery related imagery to this site will find submission information HERE.

Thank you!
Margaret Dowell, Ph.D.
Editor: www.addictionandart.org

 

2015 Recovery Art Challenge


"The Journey" by BRASH

Poem: The Journey

 


The Artists and Their Works


Anelia Crawford

Anelia Crawford
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"Recovery"

This work is a visual narrative of recovery. The face represents total devastation; there is only the pain. The tree on the boulder illustrates stoic courage and strength to hold on, in spite of the enormous struggles. The blue figure, walking on the beach, shows that life after recovery can be a walk on the beach. There is a Milky Way with the rocks from the shore swirling around as part of the Milky Way in the lower right corner. The Milky Way suggests that there is a much bigger picture, yet unknown to the blue figure. --Anelia Crawford (2/8/2015)


Don Dunsmore

Don Dunsmore
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"Recovery Is..."

...a visual representation of the “path” that one takes during recovery. The images in the piece show photos of the same scene taken over several years (there are about 100). There are foot prints to guide the viewer down the path and brief notes to describe what it going on. All of this is to demonstrate the endless task that one faces to overcome addiction. Each day is another challenge and they never stop coming. --Don Dunsmore (2/8/2015)


Debra Keirce

Debra Keirce
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Debra Keirce
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Debra Keirce
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"On The Wings of Love" 10" X 8" Oil Painting

Debra Keirce is a contemporary realist who paints the magic in our reality. "On the Wings of Love" explores the relationships between addicts in recovery and their loved ones. The box represents the secrets we lock away. The glass head with a glowing third eye calls glass houses and intuition to mind. The hat pins come to life - hearts with wings that give freedom and allow them to soar to their highest potential.

"Go Fish" 14" X 11" Oil Painting

Debra Keirce is a contemporary realist who paints the magic in our reality. "Go Fish" is about choices addicts face in recovery. The bracelet is symbolic of the way addiction shackles its victims. Even when your heart is in it, much of recovery involves luck. You can choose how colorful you present yourself in your path to recovery. But, there will inevitably be many times when you will cast shadows and feel like a fish out of water, as you safely reach your destination. The important thing is that you try.

"Patience" 9" X 7" Acrylic Painting

Debra Keirce is a contemporary realist who paints the magic in our reality. "Patience" is a look at recovery from the perspective of a loved one watching an addict struggle. The box holds all the secrets not shared. The gargoyle sits stone faced until the next relapse, silent but threatening. A candle burns as the minutes of a life with so much more potential count down. Amidst all this stress, the addict finds a way to rise above like the bubbles, for a glimpse of freedom and a new life just the other side of the window.

--Debra Keirce (2/8/2015)


Victoria Pendragon

Victoria Pendragon
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"Taking Flight" Collage

This work marks the point at which I felt free… and how free I felt… free not just from addiction, but from the childhood experiences that had created me as the addict that I was. The curious thing about sexual addiction is that, because sex is a ‘natural’ thing, there exist therapists who don’t see it as an addiction; that can make working things through more than a little challenging. I actually had one psychiatrist tell me that it was “normal” for young girls to have fantasies of having sex with their fathers. (Really?) Somehow, the fact that I was in utter distress about my behavior, that I felt out of control, seemed to elude them. --Victoria Pendragon (2/8/2015)


Mano Sotelo

Mano Sotelo
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"Waking Up from the World of Thought" 24” x 36” Oil on panel

Concept: Our beliefs and values frame how we see the world and ourselves. Most of the time, we aren’t ex­periencing reality at all; we are thinking about the past or the future or viewing reality through the filter of our ideals. This painting reflects the visualization of moving beyond those thoughts to see the reality of the present moment. --Mano Sotelo Artist website: www.sotelostudio.com (2/8/2015)


Joel Michael Sutton

Joel Michael Sutton
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"Escaping Death" 14" X 17" Oil Pastels

Hello, my name is Joel Sutton and, like many people, I have been addicted to heroin. Nothing mattered, each day was all about the fix, I was hooked. The picture is me with a syringe hooked in my lip and the grim reaper is behind me about to pull me into my inevitable death. Every day was a struggle until I finally asked for help and have now been clean for almost a year. My emotions came back and, therefore, my creativity did too! I titled it "Escaping Death" because I actually did break the chains holding me down and controlling my action each day of my life. I am free! And I know for a fact you can be free like me too, it may seem impossible right now where you are sitting, I thought so too, but anything is possible with help! All you need is help and dedication because you cannot do it on your own. Thank You! -- Joel Michael Sutton (2/8/2015)


Amy Thompson

Amy Thompson
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Amy Thompson
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Amy Thompson
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I have attached three paintings that I have painted through my recovery journey. Each is a celebration of my life after I didn't think I would survive addictions.

"Defy"

The first is "defy". Painted with colors unlike what I usually use. It is only with absolute bravery that I, or any person with an addiction, overcomes the hold it has on our lives. Brave I was and am.

"Saturation"

The second is "saturation" it's like seeing my life was saturated with my addictions. They cover all the beauty in recovery. It is only when we can get past that saturation, that we can we see the beauty of the clouds... a simple cloud seen sober is amazing.

"Lather"

The third is "lather". The white of recovery comes from the dingy bubbles of addiction. While we allow ourselves to soak in addiction, the white of recovery is just so close... trying to push into that dinginess. Finally reaching recovery, we are clean.

--Amy Thompson (2/8/2015)

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