President's Showcase

Anna Speer

Artist Talk, 6:15 PM, Ballroom E
Oral Presentation, 6:55 - 7:10 PM, Ballroom C
REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy) and the Creative Process
Supervising Professor: Prof. Carrie Ann Baade
Anna Speer is a junior Bachelor of Fine Arts candidate majoring in studio art. Anna primarily works with oil paint, but she also utilizes collage, printmaking, and various drawing mediums. Her past work is inspired by nostalgia and feelings of uncanny familiarity while simultaneously exploring atmosphere, isolation, and the unconscious through color and the use of recurring symbols and settings.


The minds of people today are extremely busy; stimulation never ceases and the consumption of media, especially among young people, is constant and overwhelming. The opposite of the extremely busy reality of the modern individual can be found through complete sensory deprivation. For my project, I will research how the consistent use of sensory deprivation float therapy (also referred to as Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy, or REST) can affect my creative practice. I am curious about how this experience could influence my mentality on a daily basis, as well as how it can affect my approach to ideation, techniques, and compositions for my paintings. Over the summer, I will be attending a one hour sensory deprivation session at a floatation therapy center two times a week for eight weeks and documenting my experiences with a series of five to six large oil paintings and sixteen small nonobjective pastel drawings. I will work on the paintings during and after the eight weeks, while the pastel drawings will be done immediately after the float (within the same hour) to visually capture my initial experience. My main goal for my research is to gain an understanding of whether or not periods of limited sensory input can serve as a catalyst for more frequent periods of creativity and productivity. Although my findings will be a personal narrative, I hope this project will contribute to a broader discourse regarding the relationship between sensory experiences and the dynamics of creativity.

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