After Patricia Boyer was diagnosed with depression in 2017, art became more than a hobby; it was a way to navigate her emotions.
Now, Boyer is set to display and sell her artwork alongside nearly 200 artists at the 59th annual Festival next week.
Boyer was diagnosed with depression after losing her mother, sister and aunt in 2017. Art became her outlet to escape from grief.
“All of my feelings come out in my paintings,” the 61-year-old abstract artist told QCity Metro. “[If] you see a lot of dark colors, [that means] I’m [feeling] down. When you see lighter colors, I’m coming out of my depression.”
Her work is a reflection of her mental health journey, and she describes describing art as “medicine.” Art has had a positive effect on her mood, and she wants others to experience the same.
Festival in the Park is an annual event held at Freedom Park in Charlotte, which features arts, crafts, live music, and family entertainment.
A family connection
The youngest of 21 kids, Boyer said all of her siblings had artistic abilities, and, naturally, she too was interested in art.
Her interest began around the seventh grade, but she didn’t pick up a paintbrush until 2017.
When her mother, sister and aunt passed away in the same year, Boyer said it left her “severely depressed.”
Her doctor recommended seeing a therapist and prescribed an antidepressant.
But Boyer didn’t like the medication. She said she didn’t feel like her normal self, so after some time, she stopped taking it.
Instead, she poured more of her energy into art.
“It was my escape from all the problems I had in the world,” she said.
Boyer began selling her work at art studios and galleries around the city, and during a stop at Starving Artist Market in Charlotte, she heard about Festival in the Park.
She learned that festival organizers were taking applications for participation. Initially, Boyer said she felt discouraged because of her age but decided to apply anyway.
To her surprise, she said, she was accepted to participate in the festival.
“I could not believe it,” she said. “I couldn’t stop crying,” Boyer said. She still gets emotional thinking about that first opportunity.
Since then, she has been invited back each year and brings more than 150 paintings to sell.
Boyer said she often gives away free paintings to children and people with disabilities.
The festival provides her the opportunity to showcase her work and meet new people, she said. It also helps her spread joy to people who experience her art, which is one of her goals.
“Our art isn’t always about us, but what we can give to other people.