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Magdolna's Playground: Art Therapy

''Don't start anything yourself. Don't start your side gig, it's not a good period. It's so uncertain. Who knows about art therapy anyway?'' We played with this bad advice in our chat below 👇

Once upon a time …

There was a girl who used to draw a lot, a lot and everywhere, and she found it to be very relieving. It was a peaceful way of living through her imaginary life. So she decided to study art, first in her home country Serbia and then afterwards in Italy. She felt that she wasn't very good at communicating verbally, but that she was excellent at doing it through art. It helped her to both face and overcome life challenges.

At that time, she didn't know about the existence of art therapy. But when she came across this amazing method, started exploring more about the benefits, the process and history she understood that this is what she has been doing her life! And from that realization, she decided to share it with the world! And ever since she's been doing it.

What was the key step that got you to start offering art therapy?

It was the lockdown. Even though I studied art therapy in Italy, and did my practice with the clients, I still didn't feel ready. I moved to Barcelona just before the pandemic and all of a sudden we were at home 24/7. So I said to myself ‘okay, this could be the worst period of my life, or this could be the best one, which one do I choose?

At that point, we were all very worried and afraid and didn't know what was going to happen or what was actually happening. So I wanted to help people get some ease and relief. First, I gave free art therapy classes to the kids of my coworkers. And from there I organized an art therapy challenge online. I invited people to just draw or create something and dedicate that one week to themselves. They found it very useful and calming so I repeated the challenge. After that, I started organizing online workshops and slowly one-to-one sessions.

If you had to choose 3 colors to represent how art therapy helps, which ones would you choose and why?

It's absolutely not possible 😊 It would need to be a wide range of colors, because art therapy helps us in expressing our emotions and all that we have suppressed in our subconscious. It is almost as if we have a huge container with emotions of memories, our thoughts and behaviors and things that maybe we are afraid to face. Or that we have learnt not to face because it's not acceptable to behave in certain ways. Or maybe we just don't want to deal with some of the emotions and situations. So, what happens in art therapy is that through visual communication and visual expression, that information comes out. This is why we need all those colors to express the depth of our emotions and our experiences.

How do you balance your regular work and your side-gig (Art therapy)?

My day-to-day corporate job is the one that actually allows me to have my side gig. It is very supportive to have a boss who is open-minded and a company that is task-oriented. This means that I don’t clock in and out of work, but instead, it is my results that matter. So I optimize everything in order to first be efficient at my job, and then at my side-hustle too. It also helps that I work from home and online. In this way, I have additional flexibility and freedom to organize my time.

Let’s travel in time and meet you just when Corona started. What is bad advice you would give to yourself?

Magdolna continue focusing on the news, on the fear. Don't start anything yourself. Don't start your side gig, it's not a good period. It's so uncertain. Who knows about art therapy anyway? Stick to the safe things.

What do you wish a world would be more like?

I wish it could be more peaceful, more understanding and loving. We need more empathy, more caring and respect for each other and for our planet.

Is there something you wish I asked you?

Yes. Maybe what message would I give to someone who is thinking between a job and a side-hustle? My suggestion is, if you are thinking is it the right time to leave one and go for the other, and feel the pressure to do it, don't rush. Give yourself time. It doesn't have to be either, or it can be both. And, it doesn't really matter if you are doing a side gig only on the side, or if you are managing to live out of it, or maybe you didn't even start doing it. Don’t let the outside pressure get you. You are fine already and good enough as you are.

P.S. I personally tried one of Magda's art therapy workshops, and the outcome surprised me. Find more about Magdolna's work here.

P.S.S. If you need a bit of extra support to work on your side-hustle, check out how Playground can help.


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