The Human Compass – Casey Jacubowski’s Multimodal Expressive Arts Practice

First I must give credit where credit is due. This was not completely and solely an original idea. This creative process was inspired by two visual artists’ work, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, and Heather Hanson’s Emptied Gestures. Da Vinci’s pen and ink drawing depicts the cannon proportions, something that is emphasized in this expressive arts process. Hanson’s work explores kinetic drawing through large scale chalk drawing.

This creative intervention takes Hanson’s creative process and elevates it from the floor to the wall to encompass several levels of movement. Incorporating kinetic drawing with other methods of creative intervention, such as yoga, dance, and meditation, present a harmonic balance of artistic and healing processes and product.

The creative process integrates Cathy Malchiodi’s (2015), scaffolding for creative interventions in trauma; reaching out, taking heart, making meaning, and moving on. Participants begin by finding safety through preparing canvas and stretching. The individuals then explores their story through movement and large scale drawing by incorporating yoga, dance, or simple natural gestures, and large chalk drawings. The intervention closes with a meditation and reflection on the process and product created. Using their bodies as a compass, participants create a large scale expressive mandala on canvas.

I call this process Human Compass as it is part drawing, part yoga, part meditation, part Vitruvian man. Unlike typical dance drawing, the canvas does not lay on the ground, but is pinned to the wall. I felt this was a better choice as one could experience more than one level of movement during the telling of their story. One could be very tall and stretched out while at other time it may feel more accurate to be low to the ground and small.

Secondly, one does not need to dance to use this process. Many types of movement can be incorporated in this process. This specific example uses yoga for its proven ability to assist and support traumatized individuals in their recovery (Banitt,2012) . Movement can be used to tell stories, non-verbally, as well as freely express and move energy that lingers in the body.

Each hand is responsible for a piece of charcoal, the piece does not switch from hand to hand. The participant can chose to use both sides of the body at once, or to move each side separately. Constant contact with the canvas is nearly impossible while exploring movement freely. However, the more times the chalk strikes the canvas the more accurate the recording of the movement becomes. Colored chalk, charcoal, and any other mediums that mark canvas or the surface easily can be used.

Many things can be taken from this process. Not only does it use expressive movement and yoga that naturally keep the body and mind connection well, but it also documents that energy movement, giving the individual a physical piece to look at and draw meaning from. This process also emphasizes the body being a tool. One must take care of their body, they must learn to bend, to become flexible, to withstand discomfort to complete beautiful circles and cycles.



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