Art Saves Lives International Posters designed by Charlotte Farhan

As the Managing Director of ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL creating merchandise for our new online store (which will be launched early next year) is a fun project for me to take on.

We shall be selling posters, postcards, greeting cards, art prints, music, arts and crafts, T-shirts, stationery, books, online-courses and we hope to stoke items from artists around the world, so you can by from the artist through us! So as this is my baby, I decided to take the plunge and start creating.


 

Here are 3 NEW posters I have created the artwork for:

ASLI Poster By Charlotte Farhan

 

 

Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.
(Plato)

 

ASLI Poster By Charlotte Farhan

 

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”
(Friedrich Nietzsche)

ASLI Poster By Charlotte Farhan

The animated bug has bitten pop culture. It makes me feel happy and free. When you don’t act seriously, you can make up your own rules.”

(Nicki Minaj)

 

More artworks to come very soon…

We will also be doing competitions for artists to enter their designs to be featured on our merchandise.

If you are not familiar with ASLI and our mission and aim then check them out at http://www.artsaveslivesinternational.com

ASLI infographic by Charlotte Farhan

Remember when we at ASLI talk about artists we are talking about all disciplines within the arts…

Such as: visual artists, photographers, writers, poets, dancers, performance artists, thespians, graphic designers, crafters and artisans, musicians, singers, cartoonists, fashion designers, film and documentary makers, journalists, bloggers… basically if you are using your artistic and creative self to make a difference we are talking to you!

ASLI infographic by Charlotte Farhan

If you have any questions about ASLI or wish to get involved please fill in the form below or contact us at artsaveslivesinternational@gmail.com

ASLI WEBSITE BADGE

 

The Artist and her Cats – Painting our Feline Friends

Charlotte Farhan and Logan
Charlotte Farhan and Logan

Cats have been of extreme importance to me throughout my life of 31 years. Having reared kittens, rescued cats and met many along my journey, these majestic and complicated feline friends are to me more than beautiful creature but are inspiring and have become my best friends and even family.

I decided to start painting cats when I realised how important they were to my artistic process. My three cat progenies who my husband and I treat as our offspring (not as human babies) but as the wonderful species that they are, are called Omar (our 10 year old moggy), Isabella (our 8 year old Burmese) and our youngest Logan (a 5 year old Bengal).

They rush to greet us as we arrive home, they speak to us in a language which we have adapted to best understand one another, they are attached to us as we are them and require constant attention and care, which we are more than happy to give. We feel privileged to share our lives with our fury brood and at times when I am unable to leave my home or am so overwhelmed by sadness or trauma my phenomenal little ones comfort me and lick my tears away.

So I shall continue to honour the species I feel akin to by painting them and creating lasting impressions of them.

Here is my latest called “Lucy Loves Laziness”

Lucy was my Mothers cat when I was little, she was a wise cat, full of neurosis, who did not particularly like me, but I shall always remember her curled up in the flower beds, whilst keeping a watch out for small insects to eat.

Lucy Loves Laziness - By Charlotte Farhan
Lucy Loves Laziness – By Charlotte Farhan

 

Lucy Loves Laziness - By Charlotte Farhan
Lucy Loves Laziness – By Charlotte Farhan

 

Lucy Loves Laziness - By Charlotte Farhan
Lucy Loves Laziness – By Charlotte Farhan

 

Here is a look at the other cat portraits in my collection, most have been sold, prints available and greeting cards coming soon.

Cat Portraits By Charlotte Farhan
Cat Portraits By Charlotte Farhan

If you are interested in one of these or have a feline friend you wish me to do a portrait of please fill in the form below for further details.

Original paintings cost £55.00

Prints cost £25.00

Commissioned Cat Portraits cost £45.00

All images are 10″ x 12″ x 1″ and are on box canvas or high quality printing paper.

And here are our 3 beautiful family members:

Thank you for visiting…

The struggle with the unseen

My illness – The struggle with the unseen

Having any unseen illness is a struggle and for obvious reasons. Some say mental illness is not a physical illness which I strongly disagree with, how can the brain not be physical? Having had severe psychiatric illnesses since the age of 11 would make some assume I would be well adjusted by now or even that I must know my own illness through and through. These are all incorrect assumptions.

The fact is my life has become more of a struggle with age. Being 30 now has made me want to take charge more than ever but to my surprise it is proving far harder than I would have imagined as my younger self. As a young teenager I did not understand and just felt out of place and suicidal. Then as an older adolescent I just became reckless and would put myself in dangerous situations. My twenties became a decade of denial, I did not want medication, therapy, hospitalisation or even to really admit my illnesses to my friends. I drowned my emotions and masked symptoms and behaviours with alcohol and drugs.

However, mental illness does not just disappear in fact it spreads like an infection and causes more illness until the infection is so severe the body crashes and there is no other option but to admit defeat and seek medical attention. This is what happened to me at 28 and has been a uphill struggle since. Although this has made my life more difficult it has not stopped me having a successful marriage and a progressing career.

 What you cannot see – By Charlotte Farhan As a Borderline I spend an intense amount of time suppressing emotions. People often say to me after I have had an outburst, “I did not realise you were feeling so emotional and unwell, you looked fine to me” This is due to the combination of having had to be strong and resilient through major abuse and trauma as a child as well as being ridiculed and scolded for displaying extreme emotions as an adolescent. So I developed an emotion regulation strategy. This painting is of the emotions people don’t see. My art is here to break down and challenge stigma as well as educate.

What you cannot see – By Charlotte Farhan
As a Borderline I spend an intense amount of time suppressing emotions. People often say to me after I have had an outburst, “I did not realise you were feeling so emotional and unwell, you looked fine to me” This is due to the combination of having had to be strong and resilient through major abuse and trauma as a child as well as being ridiculed and scolded for displaying extreme emotions as an adolescent. So I developed an emotion regulation strategy. This painting is of the emotions people don’t see.
My art is here to break down and challenge stigma as well as educate.

A detailed list of the unseen illnesses I suffer from

Here is a list of my unseen mental illnesses the definition and severity. The list is done from the most severe to the least. As well as identifying which illness (untreated) led to another.

  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder – develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events, such as sexual assault, warfare, serious injury, or threats of imminent death. The diagnosis may be given when a group of symptoms, such as disturbing recurring flashbacks, avoidance or numbing of memories of the event, and hyper-arousal, continue for more than a month after the occurrence of a traumatic event

  • Borderline Personality Disorder – is a cluster-B personality disorderis a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image and emotions. Impulsive behaviours, self-injury, experiencing severe mood swings, feelings of emptiness, and intense anger.

    Depersonalisation Disorder – is a mental disorder in which the sufferer is affected by persistent or recurrent feelings of depersonalization and derealization. It is classified as a dissociative disorder and an independent neurotic disorder. Feeling disconnected from one’s physicality or body, feeling detached from one’s own thoughts or emotions, feeling as if one is disconnected from reality, and a sense of feeling as if one is dreaming or in a dreamlike state.

  •  Agoraphobia – Anxiety about being places or situations from which escape might be difficult or in which help may not be available in the event of having a panic attack. Situations are avoided or endured with marked distress, many require a carer or companion.

  • General Anxiety Disorder – is a neurological anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry

  • Panic Disorder –  is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurring panic attacks. It may also include significant behavioural changes lasting at least a month and of ongoing worry about the implications or concern about having other attacks

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear or worry (obsessions), repetitive behaviours aimed at reducing the associated anxiety (compulsions), or a combination of such obsessions and compulsions.

  • Diabetes – Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly.This is because the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin, or not enough insulin, to help glucose enter the body’s cells – or the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance).

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)  is a condition in which a woman has an imbalance of female sex hormones. This may lead to changes in the menstrual cycle, cysts in the ovaries, trouble getting pregnant, fatigue and chronic pain.

  • Anorexia Nervosa (Restricting type) – individual does not utilize binge eating nor displays purging behaviour as their main strategy for weight loss. Instead, the individual uses restricting food intake, fasting, diet pills, and/or exercise as a means for losing weight.

  • Chronic Erythema nodosum – is a type of skin inflammation that is located in a part of the fatty layer of skin. EN results in reddish, painful, tender lumps most commonly located in the front of the legs below the knees. With chronic pain and tightening of the skin.

  •  Depressive Psychosis – refers to a major depressive episode that is accompanied by psychotic symptoms.

Phototastic-2014-09-24-16-15-37

The Struggle

With these unseen illnesses it is hard to explain on any given day why I can’t do what I need to do, or why some days I am able to do these said things. As someone who as had these issues longer than not, I am unaware sometimes that people take me at face value and as I appear “well” or “normal” to a certain extent people can often disbelieve if told or just can’t understand as I am not in a straight jacket, rocking in a corner, dribbling or fit into any other misconception or stereotype people have about mental illness.

So this can prove to be very distressing in our world. As a survivor and someone who will not give up, I am left with only one option and that is to share my story, educate and break down these rigid ideas of what mental illness is. Mental illness does not mean you cannot have a life, friends, family and a career. However it does mean you may need to alter your opinions on what social norms you wish to follow or like myself hope to create a diversity in our society that will accommodate us all better. Such as attitudes towards work, money, health care, relationships and appropriate behaviour. These are all areas which may need to be reinvented and philosophised to draw the best conclusion for your life.

You will still be met with certain attitudes and archaic beliefs.

Phototastic-2014-08-20-18-52-16

TOP 10 WORST THINGS SAID TO A PERSON WITH MENTAL ILLNESS

  1. “Don’t tell people you have mental health problems, they will not understand.”

  2. ” You always seem so happy, confident, well… I can’t believe you have a mental illness.”

  3. ” Everyone feels like this sometimes.”

  4. ” Why can’t you work in proper job?”

  5. ” Stop focusing on the past, negative, bad times…”

  6. ” Get over it!”

  7. ” You would be fine if you just went out.”

  8. ” Your illness is a state of mind.”

  9. ” Stop mentioning your illness it brings people down and makes you seem like an attention seeker.”

  10. ” I don’t believe in mental illness.”

Phototastic-2014-08-27-17-23-51

Final Thoughts

Living with my unseen illnesses everyday is just a fact of life. I don’t feel bitter or unlucky. All I wish for is that the world would see us and accept us. We are here on this planet and we deserve a voice and consideration. My wish is to stop negative associations with unseen illness, to break down the separation between mental and physical illness, to allow people the freedom to speak of their illnesses in social and work settings without the fear of stigma and unfair treatment.

My unseen world is not unseen because of shame or fear. It is unseen because many choose not to see it. It is unseen because people don’t listen and it is unseen because I gave up explaining. However now I am not giving up, I shall explain and speak up and I shall not hide the truth. This will not change things over night but it will be my change, my contribution. I am a warrioress and my fight has just begun.

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A Journey to Recovery – How Art Heals the Body, Mind and Soul

Charlotte Farhan Art  http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
Charlotte Farhan Art
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

Painting is a means of self-enlightenment.” John Olsen 

 

Today I want to discuss the physical benefits to art and having a creative outlet. I was diagnosed with Diabetes and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome at the end of 2012 which turned my world upside down. Now, over half a year on and I am back to having doctors appointments and tests, as I have a condition affecting my legs and joints which should be diagnosed next week.

As one can imagine having these problems on top of my mental illness has been a struggle and challenge. Especially as this has been my busiest year to date for my art. With five solo exhibitions, several group shows, being in The Portsmouth News and becoming an artist in residence at ART SAVES LIVES, it has been wonderful. Not to forget the amazing support I have received from happy customers, gallery owners, mentors and my wonderful little creative army of fans on my social media sites, reaching over 31,000 likes and followers!!

Charlotte Farhan Art  http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
Charlotte Farhan Art
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

During this whirlwind of excitement, success and gratitude I have been healing myself. I have lost 4 stone and dropped 4 dress sizes as well as many inches all over. I now have a clean living approach and try and eat organic, unrefined, unprocessed, fair trade whole foods. I exercise and concentrate on my therapy for my Personality disorder, Post traumatic stress and anxiety disorder as well as targeted exposure work for my agoraphobia. My husband and I are also trying for a baby, which due to my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a struggle.

All these things can bog a person down and make the “need” to create art seem an irrelevant task and one which should be put on hold!

This is not correct!!!

When feeling unwell, mentally or physically, when life causes undue stress and anxiety or when caring for others in these situations means your self care goes out the window.

THIS IS WHEN WE SHOULD CREATE!!

Charlotte Farhan Art  http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
Charlotte Farhan Art
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

Current research is following a number of paths. Scientists measure the natural substances your body produces when you’re exposed to the arts. Others look at what happens when you are active in the creative process. Researchers are now investigating how the arts can help us recover from disease, injury and psychological trauma.

 

Art therapy can help improve various mental and physical symptoms including,  reducing pain, anxiety, and tension. It can be beneficial to those who have mental disorders, cancer, post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), people who are bipolar, and a variety of other serious ailments.

Megan Robb, a certified art therapist at NIH’s Clinical Centre, says, “When traumatic memories are stored in the brain, they’re not stored as words but as images. Art therapy is uniquely suited to access these memories.”

PTSD - By Charlotte Farhan http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
PTSD – By Charlotte Farhan
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

I have discussed my mental health issues and how art has saved my life, if unfamiliar please follow this link. https://artistcharlottefarhan.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/art-saved-my-life-my-ongoing-struggle-with-mental-illness/

For people with physical disorders art adds meaning to life.

Art is especially important for people with physical challenges as they may not be able to participate in activities as they had in the past. It keeps the mind engaged and lowers stress and pain levels. A recent report from Finnish scientists showed that listening to music helps stroke patients recover both memory and focused attention.

That Day - By Charlotte Farhan http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
That Day – By Charlotte Farhan
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

 

It has also been studied and concluded that there are benefits to cardiovascular, stroke and diabetic patients. Art can reduce blood pressure and music can help irregular heart beats and creative writing can allow people to understand and face their life challenges better.

“By engaging in art, dance, poetry or music, people are likely to initiate processes that help them manage stress, reduce negative mood states and perhaps change behaviour that we know impacts cardiovascular risk and recovery,” ( Joshua Smyth, a psychologist at Syracuse University)

 

So my point is this, art can be a positive new direction which everyone can do a little more of in their lives. Be creative in whatever you wish, engage your inner artist, musician, poet, whatever you decide will only enrich your life as it has done mine.

I may get bad news with my biopsy next week, I may have good and bad days with my long list of ailments, but I assure you the one thing which shall never change is my need to create and my need to inspire you all to do the same.

Charlotte Farhan Art http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
Charlotte Farhan Art
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

I not only believe in the healing powers of art I also believe in the healing power of positive energy. I feel with all the challenges life throws at you, you have a choice in which to find a silver lining, a positive over the negative, a way to turn pain, fear and loss into an energy which is filled with positivity which you can pass on throughout your family, friends and community.

Spoon full of sugar - By Charlotte Farhan http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
Spoon full of sugar – By Charlotte Farhan
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

For all of you which may be suffering or caring for      those who do, I send you all my love and support.  You are all in my thoughts whilst I create my art.

I am artist in residence at  ART SAVES LIVES http://artsaveslives.co.uk/

A not-for-profit arts organisation dedicated to  providing free inspirational and inclusive arts  experiences to engage disadvantaged and  marginalised artists in the UK.  Please visit the website and help us to improve peoples lives through art.

Charlotte Farhan Art  http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
Charlotte Farhan Art
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

 

There is no must in art because art is free.”  Wassily Kandinsky 

 

If you are interested in knowing more about my art, upcoming exhibitions or wish to know more about me please visit my website http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/ and if you would like to contact me please email charlottefarhan83@sky.com

 

Charlotte Farhan Art http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
Charlotte Farhan Art
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/