Exhibit of Roar’s extraordinary post-stroke “outsider art” as part of ART HEALS @RubbleGallery #arttherapy #neurology

My father had a massive stroke 5 years ago and art has essentially saved his life by rekindling his spirit.  Check out his project The Old Apple Tree !  His post-stroke drawings fascinate me.  Dad’s perception was altered after his stroke.  Here he struggles to illustrate a figure looking out a window.  He wanted it to be inside the room looking out.  I love how there are no walls:

This photo of Dad from his late teens truly illustrates the joy he is getting from doing his art:

My dad, Norway, 1940's
Dad, December 17, 2011


Featuring dual art show/fundraiser of therapeutic works by father and daughter: Roar and Katarina Thorsen

January 21- Feb 7, 2012 at the Rubble Gallery!

Opening event (with an interactive art corner) on January 21 7-9 PM! Cash bar, snacks, music, art.

The show will be a collection of our individual and mutual work:
1. Dual journals:
Created 2001-2003 (we would take turns week to week) as I experienced the breakdown of my marriage.  The journals will be on display  and you are welcome to read and interact with them.
Examples from my series on grief and divorce (china marker on masonite board). [will be on sale]
3. Portraits: 
Roar’s current series of therapeutic post-stroke drawings, created in his long term care facility (pencil and felt pen on small foam boards).  [will be on sale].
4. Molly: 
Preview of my illustrations for my graphic novel in progress (china marker on newsprint). [NFS]
preview of Roar’s post-stroke illustrations and quotes to his book of drawings and wisdoms (pencil crayon on paper).
[some originals for sale]
6. Raffle:
My painting “Morfar’s Klass” (28″ x 40″) (acrylic on canvas) will be raffled ($20 ticket, 3 for $40).
Funds to go towards self-publishing costs of Molly and The Old Apple Tree.  Each ticket is a coupon for a 5-minute portrait by me.  Raffle tickets will be available to pre-purchase on this site starting next week and tickets will be sold during opening event.  Raffle draw at  8:45 PM January 21.
7. Interactive Art Piece:
Large piece on foam board started by me and added to by participants and gallery visitors.  The piece can be added to by gallery visitors for the remainder of the exhibit and will be donated to the Rubble Gallery.
See examples of my interactive art at: http://bit.ly/ofOWDe

Rubble Gallery

Beautiful new drawings by Roar Thorsen #strokerecovery #neurology #arttherapy

My father (now 80) had a massive stroke 5 years ago and art has essentially saved his life by rekindling his spirit.  His mind is strong and reawakened to the power of art.  He even watched the the entire TED Talks 2011 Prize Winner JR Talk and teary-eyed discussed with me the global power of art.

Check out his project The Old Apple Tree which will be launched soon!  We are in the final stages of editing and matching text to illustration. 50 copies will be printed initially and presented at a special private event.  Stay tuned!

Here are two of his latest (I love the way he corrects by cutting and pasting little pieces of paper):

My father’s stroke of luck- art therapy and traumatic brain injury

In September 2005, we nearly lost my father due to a severe bleeding stroke resulting in left-side hemiplegia.  Essentially, he was left paralyzed on his left side.  He cannot walk, but he can speak and his mind is clear.  He is dependent on others for simple daily things such as transferring, toilet, dressing.  He is strong and stubborn- which has helped him immensely.  The neurological unit was a messy hectic place.  It made us feel vulnerable and desperate.

But Dad is an artist and within a few weeks of the stroke, with the hope of giving him the possibility of exploring creativity, I brought art supplies and his occupational therapist gave us a table to fit around his wheelchair.  Here is his first drawing:

It clearly illustrates his brain’s interpretation if his body.  Dad was not aware of his left side anymore.  I drew a simple sketch of a body for him to copy to see if he could recognize the left side.   The result is a charming drawing as his left side literally floats:

2 weeks later he did much better at recognizing the left side:

Over time, Dad moved to the rehabilitation ward and his techniques were back in full force.

There is no doubt that creativity and art has made life for my Dad fulfilling and rewarding.


Read more about art therapy and brain injury go to:

Changing Identities: A Story of Traumatic Injury and Art

Art and Brain Injury

Northeast Center for Special Care Art Studio

From Broken Lives, Amazing Art