Kimberly Elliot | Art As Self-Care

I know my art and my process to be a form of self-care whether I realize it or not. I started drawing when I was six years old and saw art as a simple hobby. I practiced drawing and painting with no other intention other than the fact that I wanted to be better at it. At that age, it was a pleasure rather than a release. As I grew older, I came to use art as a way to express ideas and thoughts I neglected at the time. I then began to consciously use art to confront internal conflict or confusion. 

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Growing up, my family was always traveling between countries. Due to my father’s career, we frequently moved from house to house and began living in between the Philippines and America. I developed a lot of insecurities with my weight and my ethnicity and I had no self-confidence. I couldn’t identify myself in either culture or community and it forced me to really question my identity at a young age - I wanted to belong and feel good about myself. Later on, as a teenager, I suffered from anxiety and developed an eating disorder in high school. 

Around this time, I focused a lot of my energy into creating. I realized how much better I felt, regardless of the result. I wrote a lot of short stories in my room and I began drawing and painting in my spare time. It was always the process of taking out sheets of paper or a blank canvas and using my imagination which provided a space for me to be in my own world and express myself.

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I began to discover different styles and enjoyed drawing ideas and subjects that I couldn’t normally articulate when I was with family or friends. I started to draw a lot of portraits of nude women with body hair and body fat and different skin colors - images of women that I wouldn’t normally see celebrated outside of my own drawings. I drew a lot of self-portraits and took a lot of release from it. The ritual produced a feeling of self-assurance within myself and it continues to do so. I see the creative process of art as a way of developing self-acceptance and I’m thankful for it to this day. 


- Kimberly Elliott

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Enjoy more of Kimberly’s work on her website here or give her a follow here.

Zoe Rayn Evans