Companies often look for ways to bring their teams together through fun bonding activities. These can range from professional development workshops to something more informal such as a karaoke night. A unique idea that may not often be considered is an art class. One which can be done virtually or in person is the Neurographic art classes run by the Vancouver Visual Art Foundation (VVAF).
According to Registered Art Therapist Taisha Teal, one of VVAF’s Neurographic art instructors, Neurographic art is “intuitive art in an abstract form”. As opposed to VVAF’s other classes, which would involve learning to paint something specific such as perfume bottles or flowers, Neurographic art class participants are not asked to paint anything specific. Instead, each person is asked to start the process by closing their eyes and allowing themselves to move paint across the canvas without worrying about the result, because there is truly no wrong way to do it. “It’s just scary at first because most people stop doing art when they’re kids, and they haven’t held a paint brush for years...” says Taisha.
The goal of this intuitive art form is to get people into a flow state in which they are fully focused on the task in front of them. The fact that this state “helps engage more neurons,” according to Neurographic art proponents like inventor Pavel Piskarev, is where the name comes from. This state is often very calming and transforms the stress of the world into inner peace and artistic expression. Taisha explains that people will often be silent and in the zone during her sessions.
Even people who believe they have little artistic skill or experience with painting can fully enjoy the activity because they are able to create art to the best of their ability. “If I was asking them to draw a picture of flowers, people that were beginners, they would be stressed because they don’t have the skill and the challenge is high, but with Neurographic art, you go to where your level is,” says Taisha.
The painting tools used in the Neurographic art classes are typically POSCA paint pens. These tools are easy to use for beginners and dry in a few minutes, meaning minimal mess. The canvases used are usually 12” X 14”, a size familiar to most and not intimidating.
What the participants gain from this experience is a stress-free way to express themselves and experiment with ideas and techniques, making it an excellent team-building activity. Often when participants are stuck, they’ll share materials and give each other suggestions. At the end, there is a show and tell of the paintings. “You learn more about who they are inside by looking at their artwork,” says Taisha. Taisha remembers one cartoonish painting with bright colours that was inspired by the wall decorations of the artist’s child’s room.
Taisha expressed that after the classes, people are usually very appreciative and ask her when she can come back. Second and third classes are regularly arranged, sometimes because someone “missed the class” and others feel as though they need to experience the freeing and expressive process.
You can book a corporate Neurographic art class through firstname.lastname@example.org. Prices are typically $30 per person for 10 people or $25 per person for 20 people. See for yourself why the class is such a praised experience among many!
By Brian Evancic