The Artistic Prescription: How Creating Keeps the Mind Sharp and the Soul Vibrant

Re-Route Magazine
Brain Injury
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6 min read
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August 16, 2023
Photo of a colorful abstract painting using reds and yellow called Blossom. It is also textured. The artist name is Darren Hall and is available for purchase through the Alora Neurodivergent Art Dealers Galerie d'Art Neurodivergent.

Darren Hall is a U.K. artist whose unwavering determination has led him to create impactful pieces of art. He has relied on art as therapy since his childhood when he suffered a severe concussion at three years old. Although he has never been officially diagnosed as neurodivergent, he and his therapist suspect he may be autistic and ADHD. Following a car accident in 2012, Darren's art transformed from being a therapeutic activity to a prolific outlet for keeping dementia at bay. To manage his extensive collection of work, Darren donates his art or creates paintings for free. This is admirable and shows his willingness to share his talent with others and give back to his community.

Blossom, 42cm x 30cm, painted on board

Darren's journey with art has been a significant source of healing and growth for him, highlighting the importance of finding healthy outlets for coping with life's difficulties.  His story also reminds us that art is not just about the final product but also about the process. For him, creating art is not only necessary to slow brain degeneration, but it is also a way to stay motivated and engaged with the world around him, and this is a powerful testament to the therapeutic benefits of engaging in creative activities.

90cm x 60cm, Sun Sets Over the Bay, deep canvas painting

 Darren is incredibly grateful for the unwavering care and support his wife has provided him with at home. Despite her military postings leading them to live in several different places, such as Germany and Morocco, he has always stood by her side and supported her career, even if it meant sacrificing his own career prospects. Recently, his wife achieved a significant milestone in her career by being promoted to Lt. Colonel, and Darren couldn't be prouder.

Boss, 55cm x 75cm, painted on paper with acrylics and brush work, finished off with black marker pen additions

Not only has Darren's wife been his rock throughout their journey, but she has also encouraged him to pursue his passion for art and turn it into his profession. Her unwavering support has played a significant role in his success as his work has gained popularity.

Despite his brain injury and struggles with memory loss, Darren holds on to cherished memories of their travels to various parts of the world, including California and his two favorite cities, Berlin and Rome. The ruins of the Roman Empire and Pompeii have particularly fascinated him, and he often reminisces about their trips to these ancient sites.

Lady In Red, 60cm x 80cm, painted on paper with acrylics and brush work

When Darren feels overwhelmed, he prioritizes self-care by engaging in activities that help him relax and clear his mind. He enjoys visiting his local coffee shop or going to his studio to draw. Additionally, he finds that spending time outdoors and tending to his garden while listening to music is therapeutic. Darren has created a peaceful area outside with a table and chairs where he can unwind and recharge. His beloved cat, Molly, is also a significant source of comfort and support. In fact, Molly has even been known to help alleviate Darren's non-epileptic seizures simply by being near him and meowing.

Luscious Lips, 55cm x 75cm, painted on paper

Darren likes to experiment with different mediums and styles in his drawings. He often works in acrylic paint and ink but has been drawn to white pencil on black paper lately for its striking contrast and unique aesthetic. Despite the challenges that come with each medium, he has a deep-rooted need to express himself creatively. Through his art, he is able to overcome the personal challenges that his brain's reaction to certain triggers presents. His ink drawings mostly feature city architecture, with people depicted engaging in activities that originate from his imagination. While the choice of subject in his work is essential, Darren ultimately prioritizes the overall emotions and sensations that the art piece evokes.

Ball of United Colours, 38cm x 38cm, created on board using acrylics and brush/knife application, plus circle applicator

Darren draws on a variety of sources for inspiration, including Henderson Cisz, C.S. Lowry, and autistic artist Stephen Wiltshire. Though he spends a lot of time caring for his own state of mind, he is also passionate about the challenges faced by disabled and neurodivergent artists in the ableist art world. He suggests that galleries and the mainstream art world often fail to understand the unique talents and needs of disabled artists. He believes that disabled artists require more flexibility and support than the traditional art world is willing to provide. Recognizing the neurodivergence of historically famous artists like Picasso could help to change some of that.

Across the River Seine, 60cm x 40cm, drawn on Daler Rowney paper with pen

Despite the challenges he faces, Darren remains optimistic about his future as an artist. He continues to draw inspiration from his experiences and surroundings, and he sees his disability as a unique perspective that adds depth and meaning to his work. He hopes that his art can serve as a source of inspiration and comfort for others, especially those facing similar challenges.

In conclusion, Darren Hall's journey as an artist with a disability is a powerful testament to the transformative power of art as a therapeutic and creative outlet. His work not only showcases his artistic talents but also highlights the importance of promoting greater understanding and acceptance of neurodivergent individuals in society. By sharing his story and advice with others, he hopes to inspire and empower other neurodivergent artists to pursue their passions and achieve their artistic aspirations.

If you're interested in purchasing any of the artwork featured in this article, please contact Alora Neurodivergent Art Dealers. They would be happy to provide you with more information on pricing and availability. - Alora Neurodivergent Art Dealers.

Editor's note: As we spoke with Darren Hall for this feature article, we were struck by his unique perspective and creative approach to his work. We are proud to note that Darren is also a client of Alora Neurodivergent Art Dealers, one of our sponsors. Through our partnership with Alora, we are dedicated to promoting the work of talented artists like Darren, who challenge traditional artistic conventions and showcase the beauty and diversity of neurodivergent experiences.

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