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For artists and designers to set themselves on the path to success, it’s important they take care of themselves—not just physically, eating healthy foods and exercising, for example, but also by prioritizing emotional and mental health. For students, this can look like putting into place healthful and restorative practices that encourage making the time to relax and seek inspiration. Practicing Healthy Creativity, as we call it here at CCAD, can alleviate stress and anxiety and encourage a holistic approach to wellness that ultimately benefits you both as an individual and as an artist or designer. Here are our top six tips from Columbus College of Art & Design students and alumni on how to thrive creatively while navigating the stresses and demands of real life.

Use your art to heal

"Find time for daily research in meditation and having a routine of weekly exercise to help your mind grow. Have a healthy mind and body to clear an intuitive path for you and the art you create.” —Ryan Orewiler

CCAD alum Ryan Orewiler (Illustration, 2004) uses his art to help others heal. After years of working to understand how to maintain balance in body, mind, and spirit through reiki sessions, in 2020, he designed and, with the help of others, painted a mural based on holistic practices, with the intent to help other people heal mentally and physically. At 75-feet-by-15-feet, Chakra Mural is striking presence at 492 E. Mound St. in downtown Columbus. The chakras, an ancient Sanskrit term used by yogis, describe energy centers throughout the body. To complement the mural, reiki master Darsy Amaya recorded podcast episodes offering guided meditations for each chakra.

 “It is crucial to inspire others through this process of artistic growth,” Orewiler says.

Get Growing

“Watching my plants grow and taking care of them reminds me that to create something beautiful, you have to take care of it.” —Jesamie Houghtby 

During their time at CCAD, recent grad and co-valedictorian Jesamie Houghtby (Fashion Design, 2021) was co-leader of Deep Roots, the school’s gardening club. Houghtby was first drawn to plants during a rough patch in terms of mental health.  “I bought a plant and it made me really happy, so I kept planting and before you know it I was surrounded!” Houghtby says. “Caring for my plants helped me care for myself and visualize my growth.”

Come up for fresh air

“If I’m in the studio mode, I take a lot of breaks. I think it’s huge to come up for air.” —Cameron Granger

Artist and videographer Cameron Granger (Cinematic Arts, 2016) is a high-achieving alum. His work for the Wex, Columbus Museum of Art and more earned him a spot on Forbes’ “30 under 30” list. In the studio, his work tackles weighty subject matters, and he keeps himself going by stepping away when it feels necessary for his own well being. For Granger, this can look like not working past a certain time, setting working hours for himself, and blocking time out to work out. “You can’t make good art if you’re not taking good care of yourself,” Granger says.

Maintain Balance

“I like to be consistently working on projects, but I find if I only do one at a time I get burnt out.” —Maya PinzFor CCAD student Maya Pinz (Illustration, 2024), Healthy Creativity is about balancing personal work and school work. It’s important for her to have multiple projects going at any one time, that way, when the urge to be creative strikes, she can choose the one that resonates most at that particular moment.

Stay flexible

“Our bodies have a living history, and what yoga helps do is reconnect you with your body in a gentle and healthy way that strengthens you, gives you balance and focus, and helps your blood flow and oxygenate.” —Bobby Silver 

Restaurateur and CCAD grad Bobby Silver (Fine Arts, 1999), co-owner of Yellow Brick Pizza, first turned to yoga in his late 30s when he was experiencing a lot of body pain. He didn’t understand the mental and emotional component until well into his journey, but after a long history of struggling with depression and addiction, he found practicing yoga and meditation helped teach him how to heal himself without going to the doctor. “Think of it as preventative health care,” Silver says. “We can’t seem to make the problems go away, but this is one of the better ways I’ve found to deal with them.”

Find your people

“I enjoy creating in spaces where I get to be around other people and coexist.” —Kale Lewis 

For CCAD student Kale Lewis (Illustration, 2024), Healthy Creativity means creating in spaces around other people and finding a community that offers unconditional and authentic support. Lewis enjoys practicing multiple forms of creativity simultaneously, and draws inspiration and energy from making art in proximity to and in community with other artists.

 Learn about the Fashion Design, Film & Video, Fine Arts, and Illustration majors at CCAD or apply hereIllustrations by Carlisa Hayes (Graphic Design, 2020)