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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Local art collective Artithesis merges psychology and art

The group’s upcoming exhibition, “The Inner Child,” will be held in August

<p>The collective features members with all levels of art experience.</p>

The collective features members with all levels of art experience.

Bobbi Matheson’s wistful love for drawing helps her connect to her inner child.

When the 22-year-old scientist attended school in Jamaica, pens and pencils — scattered across the floor or in kid’s desks — were often the only art materials available to her. The pencils were typically short, chewed or stepped on, she said.

“I would just collect them and doodle on the back of my notebook,” Matheson said.

This doodling, combined with a childhood filled with animation, inspired Matheson to grow accustomed to lines over blotches of paint.

Matheson will be able to reconnect with this lifelong love in August through the art collective Artithesis’ second exhibition, “The Inner Child.”

Artithesis, a group at the intersection of creativity and psychology, meets every Sunday at 5 p.m. at How Bazar to discuss topics related to art, life and philosophy.

Guiding questions are provided to help foster conversation. As group members gather around each other, everyone is encouraged to share their perspective as they sew, draw or paint. People are invited to attend the meetings regardless of their level of art experience.

Paris Jewell, the 20-year-old founder of Artithesis, has been interested in art since she could hold a pencil.

When Jewell attended UF, she quickly experienced a disconnect between her forestry major  and a life as a professional artist, she said. 

She knew that she had no choice but to pursue art, and eventually left college to create Artithesis.

“What I’m trying to do with the collective is inspire anyone else who feels scared to be a creative and make them feel that their art is valued,” Jewell said.

Artithesis’ first exhibition, Symbols and Sigils, was held April 10. It was an immersive experience that included a combination of music, visual arts and poetry readings.

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Artithesis meetings leading up to August will focus on ideas for art to be featured in the next exhibition.

“I don’t want to limit anyone’s creativity,” Jewell said. “They’re always welcome to create whatever they want.”

CJ Vuillequez, a 22–year-old cannabis cultivator, said she plans on participating in the upcoming event. 

Since early 2020, Vuillequez found joy in crocheting stuffed figures like succulents, mushrooms, owls and her own forest creatures.

“I just turn them out and I love sharing them with people in the community,” Vuillequez said.  “Sharing that joy of something silly that just light’s up people’s faces.”

For the exhibition, she said she is thinking about crocheting her dream unicorn from her childhood.

Jewell said the August exhibition may include a play space or toys for participants to use.

“Ideally, there always should be an element of interaction between the audience and the artist,” Jewell said. “I think it makes it more fun and that’s what it should be about.”

Jewell said the collective aims to hold an exhibition every season.

Contact Allyssa Keller at akeller@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @allygatorkeller.

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Allyssa Keller

Allyssa Keller is a third-year journalism major who reports for the Avenue. On a typical day, you can find her at Starbucks, fueling her caffeine addiction.


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