Friday 3 July 2020


art work

For centuries, people have used art to relax, express their emotions, deal with trauma and increase their overall quality of life. Today, thanks to extensive research, we’ve gathered an abundance of scientific evidence on the positive influence of art on the brain. People tend to see art as an optional extra in our increasingly busy lives, but the benefits suggest it should be more of an essential for everybody.

Sebastian Burdon

Sebastian Burdon, known as ‘Whatshisname’, is a creative, London-based artist who aims to celebrate an alternative to the ordinary through this playful and creative work. Here, he shares 5 ways art positively affects your mental health.

  • It makes you happier – looking at art increases the blood flow to the brain and causes an increase in hormones responsible for human happiness – cortisol and serotonin. Apart from improving people’s mood, these hormones help treat a variety of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety – equally as beneficial for regulating many other chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
  • It can help you get over traumatic events – art has been proven to help patients recover from personal traumas, including accidents, domestic abuse, natural disasters, etc. Through art creation, patients can depict emotions that are difficult to express verbally (sadness, rage, fear...) or portray traumatic events in a non-threatening, graphic manner.
  • It gives your brain a workout – the process of creating art invigorates the brain and activates the visual cortex. In a way, making art is an exercise for the brain, like running and weight lifting is an exercise for the body. It keeps the mind lucid and in shape even late in life. Dementia patients can profit from art’s ability to improve memory and spark recollections.
  • It can improve mindfulness – over time, the process of “mindful thinking” can make us more resilient, and teach us how to cope with everyday turmoil, thus prevent depression, reducing stress and anxiety. Viewing art helps to improve mindful thinking – simply observing the details, whether it be the colour, lines, anything that catches your eye.
  • It improves your self-awareness and self-esteem – studies have proven that patients who engaged in a self-indulging activity (such as sculpting, drawing, painting and visiting a museum tour) had drastically improved self-awareness and self-esteem. Patients not only learned new skills, but they also underwent a positive, challenging life experience, engaged in social interaction and improved their communication skills.


Sebastian Burdon, known professionally as ‘Whatshisname’, is an innovative artist who aims to challenge existing conceptions and bring joy to viewers through his work which has been featured in cities across the world, including New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Verona and Berlin.