At the foundation of human nature, you can find an intrinsic desire to be freely individual, to be seen, understood, accepted and loved as we are. You can find the desire for freedom to explore, fail into grace, to learn and to evolve. For sixteen-year-old Abbie Sweatt, she experiences the fulfillment of these desires in her artistry. Abbie recently began working at ART House Studio where she’s been taking art classes at age 11. Jason Abbie’s dad, “Art gives her an outlet. Abbie coming to work here wasn’t because her mom and I asked her to get a job or anything. I think she did it because she loves art and kids, so it challenges her to grow artistically and as a person. Abbie is dyslexic so she’s never read or wrote as a pastime. With art being visual she can enjoy the opportunity to be creative and expressive."
What initially sparked your interest in art?
"My mom and the artistic experiences she filled our home with. My mom enjoys arts and crafts herself so there was always something artsy for me to try. I think the earliest piece of art I created was when my parents would put paint on my hands and feet and then I would walk around putting my feet and hands on paper. My daily routine as a kid always included some kind of artistic activity."
As a young artist, what subjects or themes do you find most inspiring?
"Impressionist and post-impressionist art movements. Because in the digital age you can photograph anything and it is immortalized forever. So these movements are all about the organic experience of a painting. What thoughts it brings to mind, what emotions it makes you feel, and how it changes you in that moment. Things a camera simply can't do."
How does art impact you socially?
"Initially when I first started it was a great opportunity for me to connect with others and make friends. As I have gotten older and I teach here at ART House now I get to help kids bloom socially. Especially when I lead a camp because they all come in timid and quiet, but by the end of class the kids are talking, laughing, enjoying each others artwork and basically doing a show and tell. "
I was told art is therapeutic for you, can you explain more what you mean by that?
"I’ve always struggled with anxiety and art is a really great release of that for me and calms me down. Sometimes kids have very stressful anxious lives and we don’t realize it and even they don’t realize. That’s why I wanted to become an art teacher and help kids learn we can all come here to express, and just be, and not be judged."
Has the freedom to be creative artistically helped you in any other area of life?
"Of course, it has taught me to not be so rigid and to think outside the box. Like problem solving, there’s probably a solution you just haven’t discovered yet in life or in your art. It has helped me to think of new ways to do things because you never know what may work."
What other ways does art influence you that you’d like others to know?
"Just getting to explore different mediums and try new things. Trying new things in life can be hard. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be hard. Thankfully art is pretty inconsequential so if you mess up or don’t like what you’ve created, that’s fine you can adjust or start over or try again and that’s perfectly okay, and I’ve learned to carry that methodology into the experience of life as well."
Can you share any advice or words of inspiration for other artists who may be starting or thinking of starting their artistic journey?
"This is going to sound cheesy but go for it! If a project is bad, it’s not the end of the world. Nobody was born able to read or write, and nobody came into this world able to do art. You know the countless sketches and practice pieces you have hidden away? Well the best artists have those too. Just get started, try it out and something just might stick!"
These movements are all about the organic experience of a painting. What thoughts it brings to mind, emotions it makes you feel, and how it changes you in that moment. Things a camera can't do.