Hello! My name is Sienna Church and I am a third year student in Lewis & Clark’s Art Therapy masters program. This year I have been lucky enough to complete my internship requirement through the Domestic Violence Resource Center (DVRC). While at DVRC, I’ve had the honor of working closely with victims of domestic violence through various stages of recovery and healing. The work has challenged me beyond what I had envisioned, but through It I have begun to build my identity as an art therapist and I find myself prepared for wherever my work will lead me next.
Self Portrait Collection, 2022
Paper Sienna, The Artist, The Art Therapist & The Connection
Self portraiture has always been an artistic practice that I’ve found myself returning to time and time again. Throughout my life, creating portraits of myself has proven to be healing and informative to my current state of mind. This collection feels particularly special as I challenged myself to look at my artistic identity and its connection to my art therapist identity. For so long those two identities felt separate, but through this collection I have begun to see the threads that connect them.
Paper Sienna depicts myself as a paper doll, sporting the outfits and belongings I had during my first few weeks of internship. I remember thinking that each morning as I got dressed and gathered my bag, it felt as If I was playing dress up. I wasn’t really an art therapist, I was simply posing as one for the day. As time progressed, that feeling slowly went away as I grew more confident in my role. Paper Sienna pays homage to those early feelings of discomfort and imposter syndrome.
“The Artist” depicts myself in my traditional style of artmaking, using acrylic paint and gold leaf. This form of art making can be meticulous, and I often find myself settling into a unique headspace while working. My artist identity feels integral to my being, and it felt appropriate to begin the exploration of self within a place of comfortable familiarity.
“The Art Therapist” depicts an abstract self portrait using acrylic paint, perler beads and yarn. I went about this piece intuitively and found the process to take just as long as my traditional self portrait. By adding mixed media to the canvas, I acknowledge the fact that art therapy has opened my eyes to the vastness of creative expression. This piece features organic flowing shapes that have been steadily recurring in my response art with clients. “The connection” depicts the space between. The messiness of weaving the two identities together, and creating something new from the pieces.