Hi! I am an artist and person in long-term recovery since February 6, 1991. I began creating art around the same time to deal with my anger, pain, shame, and guilt.
From 2000 – 2004, I tried to get into shows and galleries to sell my artwork which I really thought would validate me as an artist.
During this time I joined an eclectic group of women artists – The Wylde Women – and we set up and curated our own shows in public venues, like the dock at Solomons Island. We even owned a gallery that was creatively set up in an antique and tea shop in Leonardtown, MD. But no one wanted the funky, abstract, 3-D collages that got my creative juices going and lit up my heart.
I quickly learned that people living in the Chesapeake Bay area preferred paintings of sailboats.
Then one of my fellow artists recommended that I make something functional with my collages. So I used beautiful rice papers and found objects and collaged them onto glass flower vases in a similar style to my fabric pieces. Now those sold! But now I was manufacturing to sell and still did not feel validated as an artist.
In reality, validation did not come until much later when I catalogued my 20+ years of collages for my novel, Gift of Desperation. It was then that I really came to understand that creating those collages was my way of using art for healing to put myself back together after domestic violence that ended in rape and from almost dying from a drug overdose in the mid 80s.
Creating to help me deal with and heal from trauma and addiction in order to strengthen and support my recovery is my validation.
Robin Gilliam is a person in long-term recovery, an artist, and the author of the recovery novel, Gift of Desperation. She has over two decades of using art and the 12 steps to recover from addiction and heal from sexual assault. She is an inspirational speaker and art for healing workshop facilitator. To book Robin for a presentation or workshop, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or PM her on FB.