Collage Saves


The Brain Chemistry of Collage

In Kolaj #24, author, mental health professional, and collage artist Laurie Kanyer considers what is going on in the brain when an artist is making collage.

You may have heard the saying, “Art Saves Lives”, but I say, “Collage Saves Lives Better”. Why? Whether you are professional fine artist using collage as your primary medium or a hobbyist, collage is one of your many go-to forms to express yourself and your use of collage adds levels of wellness to your health you may not be aware of…so collage on my friends.

For many, making art started as recreation, a playful pastime. Over time, that art making continued as a form of recreation, but for some, it became a lifestyle and maybe even a vocation. Regardless of the situation, the making of a collage has profound recreational and, therefore, wellness benefits.

This article appeared in Kolaj #24. To see the entire issue, SUBSCRIBE to Kolaj Magazine or Get a Copy of the Issue.

When an artist creates a collage, they use areas of the brain and body systems that calm the body and tap into creative problem solving.

Additionally, collage making meets emotional needs, providing the artist a tool to identify and express feelings and life experiences. By making a collage, people do not have to be emotionally constipated. It provides provides a way to put into the world events that are too hard or possibly even unsafe to speak out loud. The benefit of the symbolic representation of a feeling is that the creator can express, see and share that feeling in a collage.

This article appeared in Kolaj #24. To see the entire issue, SUBSCRIBE to Kolaj Magazine or Get a Copy of the Issue.

For thirty-one years, Laurie Kanyer worked as an Infant Mental Health professional, Certified Family Life Educator and Children’s Grief Specialist. She earned her Master’s in Human Development from St. Mary’s University in Minnesota. She is the author of 25 Things to Do When Grandpa Passes Away, Braided Memories, and The Journey of Becoming a Mother. In 2015, she received the Washington State Museum Association Award of Individual Excellence as the Director of the Yakima Light Project Gallery. In 2018, Kanyer and her husband Doug generously sponsored the first Kolaj Fest in New Orleans. To see Kanyer’s collage work, visit her Instagram @lauriekanyer.

Images (top to bottom) by Laurie Kanyer:

Debra, Richard, Jay and Kurt are Full on Mod With A Twist
collage; May 2018

This is Liza trying to find Judy. She wants to be a star.
collage; November 2016

created for day seven of Februllage, an initiative with daily challenge prompts brought to the international collage world by The Scandinavian Collage Museum and The Edinburgh Collage Collective.
7 February 2019

Courtesy of the artist