Self Changing Colors

Self Changing Colors
Ongoing Experimental Art Project 2017-2018

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Heather Watts   ·   Follow it here

Self Changing Colors is an ongoing art project with real world effects that are helping me recover my health in the midst of debilitating food sensitivities.

One painting is generated each month by a simple rule: every day I will do things that are good for me and record how I feel before and after–in the form of a color. As time passes these actions will improve my life, causing the colors to change.

The Story Behind Self Changing Colors

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.” –Bertold Brecht

I don’t often talk about the details of my health problems outside close friends and family, but I actually have food sensitivities which are so severe that I’ve been drinking most of my nutrition in the form of an unflavored tube-feeding formula for the past three and a half years. I currently eat about a half cup of food per day.

I get symptoms in multiple systems of the body (gut, brain, nervous system, muscles, joints…) and can have severe mood swings when I react to foods. I’ve gone undiagnosed and been misdiagnosed repeatedly since seeking help six years ago.

It’s been a long road and by late last year I could feel my hope starting to dwindle, so I came up with an idea for integrating my life into an art project. My intentions were to re-ignite that flickering spark of hope, give myself a way to continue making art on even the worst days, and ultimately to recover my health.

So far I’ve managed the first two and am making great progress on the third.

Here’s how it works: Every day I do a series of things that contribute to my current or future well being. Each positive activity is represented as a diagonally-bisected square for “before” and “after” colors. As the day progresses the activities stack up and I literally “stack” the colors from bottom to top in a vertical column on the page.

Every day I begin a new column beside the previous one and start again at the bottom, over and over until a month of days/columns is finished. Then I start the whole process over again the next month in a new painting.

As time passes the accumulated positive actions should gradually improve my life, changing how I feel and thus causing the colors themselves to change. Over the course of 2017 and 2018, this project will generate a series of 24 works (one per month) that look dramatically different at the end of the project than at the beginning

As of May 2017 there has been a dramatic change in the colors due to a neuroplasticity training program I’m undergoing. New theories in brain science are allowing many people with so-called “invisible illnesses” (such as food sensitivities, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromialgia and Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS) and even ailments such as Gulf War Syndrome and Lyme Disease) to finally find help! You can read more about this here.