Our friend Rich Simmons, renowned artist and hell of a nice guy, has started a movement. We could tell you all about it but we'd probably get it wrong so to avoid messing up his message and we will admit, a little bit out of laziness, we are going to have the words come straight from Rich's site.
Art Is The Cure was formed on February 20, 2008 by British artist Rich Simmons as a way to share a story and inspire people to find a cure through creativity in the same way Rich had.
Through struggling with years of depression, mild autism and social anxiety problems, Rich used art as a creative outlet to deal with it in a positive way. Art was a natural release. Having always been a self-professed art nerd, Rich began to share his art via his Myspace page. In the summer of 2007, Rich was messaged by a girl in America who was curious to learn about the artwork. Rich explained the reasons behind the work and described it as trapping his demons on canvas and getting them out of his system so he could overcome each problem without resorting to self-harm. The paintbrush and spray can became the tools used to get it out of his system instead of razor blades, drugs or alcohol.
After a few days of not getting a reply, the girl in America got in touch again. She went on to explain in the message that she had struggled with depression and self-harming for a long time, and in previous months had attempted suicide. Hearing Rich talk about how his creativity got the problems out of his system in a positive way, she decided to give it a go as well. During the days of no contact, she had got as many art supplies together as she could and experimented, explored and eventually found a release she had craved for so long. Creativity had become a way to stop the impulse to self-harm and given her the positive outlet she needed. At the end of the message, she explained how she hadn’t thought about self-harming while making art and that Rich had inspired her to find a cure through art and had saved her life and given her hope.
Months passed and this girl’s story refused to leave Rich’s mind. How was it possible to change a girl’s life who he had never met and was over 3,000 miles away? Rich told the story to close friends and family who encouraged him to learn more about art therapy. This was a revelation and Rich had a new sense of purpose in life to make art therapy more well known and find a new way to get people using art in this way.
Art Is The Cure was formed on Rich’s 22nd birthday as a way to share his own story of using creativity to overcome problems and, ultimately, inspiring other people to do the same. A new kind of outlook on creative therapy being done by people in their own way, with whatever creative release they had, in their own time and space was formed and quickly gained momentum on Myspace. People heard this story and recognized they too were using creativity to overcome problems in life without realizing the power of what they were subconsciously doing.
AITC has since grown in momentum over the years and has led to opportunities to work with young people in schools and youth organizations through workshops and lectures about art and it’s potential to be a creative release. Rich has also gone on to win a prestigious Vinspired award in 2009 for being the UK’s ‘most inspirational young volunteer’ and his work with the Prince’s Trust as an ambassador has shaped and motivated the way his own movement is run.
In 2012, Rich met with a friend, Frazer Miller, at upfest graffiti festival in Bristol, who shared his vision and set upon the most ambitious task in the movements history. The goal was to create an online platform and community for supporters of AITC to share their own stories, their own artwork and to find inspiration from others. The platform would give people the opportunity to inspire people in the same way Rich inspired the girl from America in 2007 and encourage more people to be inspired and to become inspirational. A place that encourages creativity and a platform where a global community of artists can come together to inspire a new generation of creatives.
Five years to the day after AITC was created in Rich’s bedroom with a simple story on Myspace, the beta version of its own social platform went live. On June 8, 2013, the public launch of AITC's social platform marked another chapter in the movement to continue to bring people together through art.