Coping through art


Art as therapy

For miley-berlin, the loss of his voice was also the loss of a part of his personality, which is why the artist experienced his laryngectomy as a devastating event. Art is what supported him through this difficult time. Thus, he was able to deal with what he had lost.

Miley-berlin is an artist with body and soul. The foundation was laid by his art teacher at elementary school, who conducted rather unusual art projects with the children at the time, thus igniting miley-berlin's creativity. These days, the 70-year-old is mainly active as a printmaker, etcher and graphic designer. The reason these techniques fascinate him so much is that they combine craftsmanship with technical understanding and graphic creativity. And also, because they are so wonderful to experiment with. When he puts something on his printing press, he never knows one hundred per cent in advance what the result might be. He takes great pleasure in taking these "happenstance results" and developing them further, always with that little touch of uncertainty about the final result. Furthermore, he is fascinated by the combination of old craftsmanship with new technical possibilities - for example, he merges computer graphics with conventional printing plate technology.


He is also very fond of artist's books. They generally transform the book into the subject of an artistic concept. Each one is a unique piece of art, and he has already created around a hundred of them. In these, he processes different materials on topics that move him at the time. For example, miley-berlin visualises pieces of music, transforms city maps or company flyers. "A key work is my illness and therapy diary from 2002, the year of my laryngectomy. I made a record of the immediate experiences during the first few weeks in it," he recounts.

By naming and visualising the suffering, it becomes "tangible" for him in the truest sense of the word and can be viewed objectively separated physically from his own body. As a result, it loses some of its terror which then loses its power over one's own psyche. The themes of life, health, disability and laryngectomy still move him today and are reflected in his works. As shown here in the prints "Pseudoglottis" and "Multiverse".


Druckgrafik in rot/schwarz/weiß mit mehreren Pseudoglottissen

His art has evolved over the decades. On the one hand, his work as a graphic designer for publishers and printers has taught him new things or helped him to develop these further. On the other, by working together with artist friends, publishers or authors, he has initiated projects and exhibitions which in turn have created something new.


The art project "Drittbrett" was a collaboration with two friends. In this project, one person started with a print and passed it on to the next person. This person in turn modified, added or distorted the printing plate and passed it on to the third person. This resulted in interesting "development projects", the outcome of which was unpredictable for everyone and therefore particularly exciting.


The artist also creates art on other topics that move him. Political events, such as the storming of the Capitol or climate change, drive the artist and inspired him to create last year's exhibition at the Heilandskirche in Berlin and to several graphics on the subject of sustainability.


Artistic processing has become a matter of course for miley-berlin. He works with different materials in a very practical approach and uses them to create something new. And dealing with issues that occupy his mind is also part of his identity. He also introduced his way of processing to other patients. The graphic artist designed the brochure "Psychoonkologische und soziale Hilfe bei Kopf-Hals-Tumoren" (Psycho-oncological and social help with head and neck tumours) published by the Charité Berlin and the Selbsthilfeverein der Kehlkopfoperierten Berlin und Umland, Landesverband-Berlin e. V. (Self-help association for larynx patients in Berlin and the surrounding area, Regional Association Berlin) with some of his artworks, and encourages readers to engage with art - in whatever form. Even beyond the usual art therapy sessions in the rehabilitation centre.

For miley-berlin, art acts as a form of therapy. "This is not the right path for everyone to follow. But there are still so many creative techniques in this world, it's definitely worth having a good look around," he encourages.

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