I am a camera assistant in the Toronto Film industry and four years ago in 2014, I had my first concussion on set. As a result of my injury I discovered my inner artist and started creating art. My paintings reflect my current state of mind. I have a hard time expressing in words how I feel since the concussion, but art allows me to transfer all my emotions and focus on letting go. Painting allowed me to channel many life struggles into unique one-of-a-kind moments, captured onto canvas. Through my art, I have also discovered and personally experienced a huge sense of release over the years. After completing a painting, feelings such as depression, anxiety and sadness would simply melt away. I am proud to have released over 500 pieces of art in three years and will continue to paint what I feel.
One of my main objectives when creating art is to raise concussion awareness. I’ve felt though friends and families tried to help everyone was unknowledgeable. You cannot simply go for a walk to cure depression, or just read a book. By posting how I feel truthfully, I allow for an open safe dialogue on social media with those in the same situation as myself while sharing my story with the masses. While I’m still facing many challenges I’m determined to overcome my mental and emotional high and lows. I have realized and been able to reach the masses through social media and have helped over 3 dozen people transition back into ‘normal life’ after a concussion. I have had an international ad campaign with Mercedes AMG, spoken at the Brain injury association of Canada’s conference last year in 2016, have been interviewed and written articles for the Mississauga news, Toronto Guardian, Best Magazine and Brain Injury Association of Canada. I have also been interviewed and spoken about my concussion and building awareness on TV with the Arts council “Life is a screen show”
I used art to express my concussion and garnered the prestigious award of Emerging artist of the year with the Arts council. Receiving my award along side with Established music group, Billy talent and established solo artist of the year Alx Veliz. This was a night I will never forget.
My short documentary about using art as therapy from my concussion was chosen by Cineplex for Culture Days 2017. This appeared in all 1400 Cineplex theatres In Canada across June 9-15, 2017. Funded by Sun Life Financial for 68k.
I paint from all the emotions I am going though. If I feel depressed I paint with bright colours. You would think a person depressed would paint with dark colours and harsh patterns but because I had a sensitivity to light I would use bright, vibrant colours. I wake up depressed and overwhelmed with emotions from this chemical imbalance inside of me. To solve this, instead of staying under the sheets and crying, I would paint.
After the injury my attention span was very short. I had a hard time focusing and explaining how I felt in words. So I painted my different emotions. The different personalities I encountered during the concussions are reflected in all the different styles of my work.
I hope to help hundreds of people transition back into life. I’ve realized unless you’ve had a concussion its hard to understand what a person actually goes through. I honestly wished while I was at the lowest point in my life I had someone to speak to whose been through a concussion with the same symptoms. When a person reaches out to me on social media asking questions about their concussion, I always try to help. I guide them with what has helped me heal and become healthier in my mind. I find helping those like me bring me a lot of joy, all I ask in return from them is they help the next person who’s had a concussion, whether its a friend or family or even a stranger. I will continue to help spread concussion awareness through art.
My ultimate goal in the future is to create a charity and help more people.
About the Filmmaker
Submitted by Angela Chao
Angela Chao, is a camera assistant in the Toronto film industry for 14 years.
She has worked on numerous big ticket films and television shows. Among the titles that she has been associated with are action movies such as Resident Evil: Retribution, Jumper, Kick Ass 2, and the upcoming release of the latest version of the 1980’s classic, RoboCop and Jigsaw The final chapter. Some of her more recent television projects have included The Bold Type, The Girlfriend experience and the Strain.
Filmmaker’s Website: http://www.mindlessdoodle.ca