Tap into Your Creativity in Eating Disorder Recovery: Meet Artist Jennifer Shiman

Looking for new ways to practice self-care in your eating disorder recovery? Feeling like you aren’t really creative, but need a new outlet to help process your emotions this summer in San Diego and elsewhere? Art and creativity can be a key component to eating disorder recovery, but often we feel as though we aren’t “talented enough” to engage in it. Well, I want to let you know that you don’t have to be super-talented to be creative (take it from me, as I draw stick figures!)—EVERYONE has a creative process!!! I’ve interviewed artist Jennifer Shiman who believes just that. She also happens to be my fantabulous sister-in-law (I’m sooooooo lucky to have her in the family!). One thing I really appreciate about Jennifer is that she really ties the creative process to being authentic and practicing self-care, which is a vital component of eating disorder recovery! I’m so happy that you’ll get to know more about her awesomeness.

(By the way, watching Jennifer’s animated shorts is a great form of self-care—so hilarious and entertaining! Caddyshack, Napoleon Dynamite, and Office Space are some of my favorites).

How long have you been interested in art?

Making art has been a passion of mine since I was a little kid, even as early as ages 3-4. I’ve always been drawn to (ha ha) storytelling using pictures with the words, whether in motion or not.

In what capacity do you engage in art professionally?

I’ve worked as a professional content developer (creating and producing the ideas for prfessional projects and clients) as well as a production artist (using digital methods to contribute to a larger project) since 1998. For the last 15-ish years, I’ve been creating and producing an animated series of short films entitled “30-Second Bunnies Theatre,” wherein bunnies re-enact movies and TV in 30 seconds. I am currently mid-way through the bunnies’ first foray into re-enacting TV episodes. For the last two years I’ve been crowd-funding the shorts via the Patreon platform. This year I acquired a distribution partner, TV news site Primetimer, which is helping fund the 2019 TV buns year.

In what capacity do you engage in art for self-care?

The relationship between art and self-care for me is complicated due to some of my art being a job, which entails some degree of pressure (e.g. to hit deadlines and deliver completed work, also putting my stuff out there and the ensuing audience reactions or non-reactions). For me, I turn to the writing realm for my self-care art-making; I feel like for me, writing and/or journaling is more of a hobby (not my main skill) and an outlet for a release of my feelings, and that is where the self-care component kicks in. On the other hand, I assert that making creative work my job has been a life-saver, and the choice to do so has been 100% self-care.

Briefly describe your creative process.

I have a lot of tools for organizing my process, and sometimes none of them work! On the left-brain side, I have the lists and admin to keep my production on track. On the right-brain side, I often need to switch up said tools to generate ideas and feel funny, especially on a day I am not in the mood to be funny or creative.

For my readers who are in eating disorder recovery, in what ways do you think art can be helpful for self-care?
I think getting inspired by art and making art are both essential to healing. I think art provides solace and escape.

In what ways do you think the creative process can be a form of self- care?

I think learning, exploring, and accepting our creative processes is a big step toward total self-acceptance, which I feel is at the heart of healing and growing. Thus getting comfortable and familiar with one’s creative process (and acknowledging that we ALL have a creative process because we are ALL creative) is an essential form of self-care.

What are you working on now?

Currently, the bunnies are re-enacting the first episode of season 1 of The Walking Dead, for a Halloween release :)

How can people find out more about you and the amazing work that you’re doing?
They can check out my work at 30SecondBunnies.com and Patreon.com/30SecondBunniesTheatre.

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Hey everyone, I really appreciate you reading my blog!  Have a wonderful day. :)  

Marianne 

If you are struggling to find eating disorder treatment in San Diego, give me a call for your free 15-minute phone consultation at (858) 699-3754, and I will help you get where you need to be! 

You can find more information about me on Instagram @drmariannemiller or on my Facebook page