The American Art Therapy Association represents a diversity of professionals, students, and organizations across the nation. We recognize and celebrate the work of our members at all levels through our Featured Member series.
November 4, 2021
What excites (or inspires) you most about your job right now?
As a creative individual, these times have increased the desire for creative collaboration. I had the opportunity of working in partnership on two book project titled “Awakening to Nature’s Beauty: 10 New England Meditations for the Wandering Spirit,” written by Jennifer Ingham, MSC. It is intended to offer any reader an immersive and visual experience through vibrant descriptions of some New England locations. All seasons are represented in painted words and Earth mandala photography. At the end of the book, you’ll find instructions to create your own guided meditation to promote calm within your body + mind. All profits are being donated to the American Art Therapy Association, as we are both longstanding mental health advocates.
The second book project, titled “The Avocado Tree: El Árbol de Aguacate”, is written in English and Spanish to provide the reader a journey into both worlds of language. This children’s book, written by Diane Mylod, is a story about loss, legacy and loving energy surrounding the relationship of a beloved avocado tree in Glendale, Arizona. It is truly a magical, heartfelt and inspiring book that has potential to guide children along in their own grief work after great loss of a parent, caregiver or loved one (at least this was the hope!).
As a visual artist, adjunct professor of art therapy, and art therapist, I am continually amazed by the human spirit of growth, creativity and resiliency that I witness among my students, clients and colleagues, especially in turbulent times. I have a passion for art, seeing the goodness in others (their potential) and a belief in the healing capacities that art therapy, teaching, and art-making embody. I find this field of work to be incredibly rewarding and deeply meaningful.
Has working with a particular client group shaped your professional focus or specialty? What have you learned from working with these clients?
“When you know how to listen, everybody is the guru.” — Ram Das
It has been an honor to work with many people from different walks of life. I find that every client and person I’ve worked with has taught me something valuable. As is the nature of working with people, we are each other’s mirror… and as Bruce Moon says, our art is “the canvas mirror.”
How has your role changed as an art therapist during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I have found that in the light of the current pandemic, art therapy students, art therapy professionals and professors alike have recognized a demand for and discovered integrative methods of fulfilling students’ educational needs and our community needs at large. It was through our college and art therapy professionals accessing novice and unconventional methods that in some ways has only enhanced art therapy practices as well as educational practices.
How have race, diversity, and/or social justice impacted your work as an art therapist?
I believe it is imperative to encourage my students to contribute to diversity, inclusivity, and equity through their coursework and on-campus activities. As an artist, art therapist, and educator it is my priority to encourage students to practice conscientious engagement, ethical practices, critical thought, and scholarly research on individuals different from their own.
What advice would you give someone interested in pursuing a career in art therapy?
To keep pursuing the field if you’re interested in art therapy. Whether there is an available job or competitive job market, or if other challenges arise, keep taking the classes, keep pursuing, keep making art and never give up. Perseverance has been key on this journey as an artist and as an art therapist… as if praying without ceasing. You are bound to make a difference with the heart of an artist, the mind of a therapist and the soul of humanness.
Artist statement: Initially my paintings begin intuitively by cathartic mark-making. I believe this oracular method provides an unrestricted space that can flow freely; the paint knows where it wants to go before I do. Sometimes, a watery spray on the surface creating layers of acrylic paint: there beneath the dripping paint emerges abstract worlds in untamed color palette and shapes of ghostly figures, mountain peaks, valleys, skies that sometimes morph into eyes, trees, hearts, rivers, the endless galaxy & repeating forms where they are later emotionally refined and defined through pointillism and painted layering. I appreciate working on wood because of the innate life-force wood has within the grain, rings, texture and smell. I am drawn to engage with the painting on wood surface because it once was alive and here I give it new life, expanding its life force in the opportunity to birth something new into the world that essentially wasn’t there before. You may find continued painted imagery on the backs of my artwork—written streams of consciousness—or hidden objects inlayed. Landscapes internally and externally reflect one another as the moon is reflected in a body of water so is the soul reflected by the environment in which it lives, thrives, dies or hides. Shifting forms cascade downward, mountainous shapes plunging upward, spiritual planes and landscapes of the soul arising in tactical imagery. Like the European Symbolist Landscape painters it is about the mood of the abstracted conscious, subconscious and unconscious and “an attempt to inner vision that could not be mass produced” is archetypal of the symbolist thought and creation (2012). I too discover the unconscious and subconscious that is continually in relationship with my consciousness, but not always in my periphery. I do not always know the form or symbols that are being revealed or are saying—I find being in the mystery of them provide me as much an opportunity to be deeply in the development of my creative process in a way that is unimposing, unassuming and state of wonderment– to a beginning of potential and psychic discovery. Most of my paintings express evocative feelings that shift over time encompassing a dichotomous spectrum of thought & emotion, light & dark, real & imagined, mind & heart, logic & intuition. The reworking of older work has been a symbolic journey as well—in regard to ‘working on ourselves’; ever changing as we are perpetually are experiencing, re-experiencing, growing, honoring, expanding and a mission for triangulation of a higher state of Birth, Life and Death—Mind, Body, & Spirit—Mother, Maiden & Crone—Father, Son & Holy Spirit through the development of our entire Lifespan. The themes of my work drift backwards, forwards, & beyond into the present moment of time by sometimes revisiting memories, dreams that are in the recess of my heart and psyche and only revealed to me privately through each brush stroke. These abstract thoughts are later conceptualized in application and exercises through engaging the concept further in a physical process: such as, in brush stroke, burning, oil-rubbing, carving, scraping, tearing, writing, finding objects and other limitless applications. You might find images with candle wax, orange peels, coffee, salt, ink and/or wine on evenings in my studio. Such a thing in space employs methods to create on surfaces that invite cavernous inspection of the emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and material inquiry that is a kind of ‘thing’ I am usually seeking after, perpetually driven by a desire for re-alignment & wholeness—after life’s de-fragmentations of fractions of the Ego Self that appear within the Shadows which move us all. To create is to make known the unknown, to know I am alive, to know I am not alone and to know I am loved greater than comprehension. I feel this integration only when I am painting. I share this with you, Dear Viewer. Most of all, my hope is to explore what the inner image is trying to say to the outer image and to bring that pictorial imagery into fruition through the emotional and cognitive moods we hold as humans.
Moriah Mylod-Daggett, MAAT, ATR, RYT
Moriah Michelle Mylod, MAAT, ATR, RYT is a Visual Artist, Painter, Registered Art Psychotherapist, 200hr Registered Yoga Teacher, Multidisciplinary Educator and an Adjunct Professor of Art Therapy residing in northwest New Jersey with her husband and fur creatures. She primarily works in her home studio, Birdseye in the Attic, where she explores various painting medium applications on canvas, paper and wood. Moriah‘s art process is intuitive in nature—her artwork unveils the unseen world of the heart, psyche, and spirit where she emotionally materializes the moods we hold as humans in vividly untamed colored inner-landscapes that are evocative in expressionism and transcendentalism. The last several years Moriah has been working artistically in the great outdoors–specifically in the Ephemeral Arts creating Earth Mandalas from United States eastern terrains for personal healing and artistic expression. Currently, she offers workshops and classes in her community where she guides individuals and groups in the ancient art and spiritually creative practice of mandala-making in nature. Moriah has been working in the local community since 2016 providing private group and individual art psychotherapy sessions with various populations and mentoring young artists and art therapists.
Moriah passionately pursued a Master of Arts in Art Therapy from Cedar Crest College in May 2016 and graduated from Cedar Crest College in 2013 with a B.A. in Art Therapy and a Minor in Art History, where she was a recipient of the Howard Agar Memorial Prize for demonstration of significant ability in the studio arts. She now teaches as an Undergraduate and Graduate Adjunct Professor of Art Therapy. Moriah has professionally exhibited her artwork in conventional and unconventional venues such as local galleries, pubs/restaurants, historical sites, handmade shops, a beauty studio, brain-health facilities, an oncology hospital unit, non-profit agencies, and tattoo studios since 2015.