On all of my “Decade with Parkinson’s Disease” posts I have selected a feature image of original artwork. There is a reason for that. It’s because art is such an important player in the lives of many with Parkinson’s Disease. Betcha didn’t know that, did ya? Neither did I. And it sounds sort of crazy. How can a disease be related to creativity?
No one knows quite how many there are. I’m not sure anyone has ever studied the issue. But a remarkable number of Parkinson’s Disease patients make art. They draw, they paint, they sculpt, they garden, they sew, they write. Some have been lifelong artists or hobbyists. Others never picked up a paint brush or artists tool until after they were diagnosed. Regardless of how it came about, these patients now find art to be something that plays a role in their lives.
It has been suggested that the drugs which are designed to replace the dopamine in a PD patients brain may have something to do with all of the new-found creativity. Or maybe developing PD has made them less inhibited about expressing abilities that were hiding below the surface. Whatever the cause, art becomes therapeutic. Through art, patients explore and express their feelings or escape them for a while. Making art can improve self esteem and reduce anxiety. It can even improve dexterity and motor skills.
Art in many of its forms, was not a new or unlikely hobby for me. I have been writing, painting, gardening and working on all sorts of artistic projects since childhood. Only the trappings of a busy life ever prevented me from making art in many forms. Once I left my job and had nothing but time on my hands, artistic pursuits seemed like the natural path to follow.
You can see my own artwork in the link “original art” at the top of this website’s home page. Visit the facebook pages “Parkinson’s Art” and “Parkinson’s Creatives” to view many projects by creative PD patients.
3 thoughts on “A Decade With Parkinson’s Disease: What’s With All The Artists?”
It didn’t occur to me that I started painting and card making after my symptoms manifested. It would be interesting to know if PD is really linked to artistic pursuits or if it is a big coincidence.
I think they are beginning to study that very question. I have always been an artist of sorts but I hear of many others who didn’t find those skills until after their diagnosis.
I always wanted to paint but didn’t think I could because I can’t draw. Then I did a paint and sip and enjoyed it, so I figured I’d try it. I came across The Frugal Crafter and learned about card making and now I do both. I used to “craft” by which I mean I have several partially finished cross stitch projects and a pile of yarn that I did nothing with but since PD I spend more time in my craft room creating, art journaling, or learning new techniques than I ever had before.