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A new chapter of Lisa Anita Wegner's storytelling.

Filmmaker Performance Artist www.mightybraveproductions.com

Tag Archives: brain injury

Art Saves Lives is the first joint exhibition of Angela Chao and Lisa Anita Wegner, two visual artists whose work grew out of brain injuries they had experienced. Angela suffered a concussion at her work on a film set, while Lisa lives with post-traumatic stress disorder. lisa_angela

They connected over their art being the way out of their personal traumas, allowing them to both function and stay connected to their true selves. They share an understanding of art as something they need on a daily basis to nourish their souls, and are so simpatico on this, that they refer to themselves as each other’s “Brain Buddies.”

Angela and Lisa are eager to share their stories and their art, helping to spread awareness to others that art is a very real therapeutic option.

Come to see their show of paintings, post-production photography and collage now on display at the gallery at Richview Library: and visit their website at artsaveslives.ca.

After a concussion curtailed her first career, ANGELA CHAO discovered cranio-therapy and found herself able to think freely and begin to escape the personality and mental changes, PTSD, depression and anxiety that had plagued her since her accident. Even more exhilarating, she could sit still and accomplish things, an ability that had been taken from her. She started doodling and discovered her hidden artist, and a place where she can leave behind mental challenges and be free to create.

In her new career as an artist, she has already won an award at the Art Square gallery where her work premiered, as well as Flight Centre’s first prize of a trip to New Zealand and Australia in a competition with 1800 artists. She recently competed in Art Battle 2015, and has donated her artwork to an AIDs charity event at TIFF.  In addition, her unique story has generated coverage by the Mississauga News, Brain Injury Association and Hospital News. http://mindlessdoodle.ca/unnamed copy

LISA ANITA WEGNER is the creative producer of Mighty Brave Productions, a small award-winning multi-media production company based in Toronto. She has been exploring film, video, post-production photography and performance art for over twenty years, with an emphasis on emotional authenticity, collaboration, and – since experiencing a PTSD-related breakdown, the possibilities of art as therapy. Her work has been shown at the Phoenix Art Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Gallery 1313, Moniker Gallery, Toronto Art Fair, Buddies in Bad Times, The Black Cat Artspace, NXNE Festival, Partners In Art’s ARTrageous In Motion, Scotiabank Nuit Blanche and, most recently, at the RAW Sensory show at Toronto’s Mod Club. www.lisaismightybrave.com

lisa

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the first week after my full time trauma therapy ended, i did a pretty good job of mostly rest and self care. doing just the basics to get ready for my upcoming exhibits and performances.

last night i slept from 5:30 pm to 10:30am (whoa) and then today my brain could barely chug itself around making a cup of coffee.  i was confused all day and stressed because there were a few small details i had to figure out. i needed to call in a friend to help and now i am ready for the rest of the week, and i can mostly rest. my cognition can still drop out and then i feel like i can’t wrap my brain around much besides cuddling my dogs and making stuff.

i feel a little better now that i made this picture. and wrote this. making stuff is really the only way through for me.

exhausted

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this is what i need to make stuff

this is what i need to make stuff

dear exhaustion: you can be a bit overbearing, like a parent grounding me when i have to rehearse and perform the lead in the school play. i appreciate the message but sometimes i have deadlines. but you know what exhaustion?  i appreciate you telling me to ease off.  even though it took about ten people’s help and you didn’t go easy on me, i managed to get everything done,  with one day to spare.  by next week the reno on my space should be finished and that will be like heaven on wheels. greased lighting wheels.  right now i am living in a cloud of construction dust, workman, cables, floor glue, and fumes. unable to locate anything and dogs barking at every workman move. that’s exhausting on it’s own.

dear ice: please cut me some slack especially when there is water on top. you’re slippery and i’m tired. i can’t fall anymore so i’m just taking main road. thanks i know you didn’t mean it.

dear technology:  i want to thank you for being my in house creative team. thank you for  always being available to me and for knowing my own creative brain . without you i wouldn’t be so creatively free.

dear brain injury you are a worthy opponent: you can kick my ass any day. any stress (physical illness, tiredness, over working) is compounded exponentially from the divine straight to the ridiculous. the trick my body is to shut my cognition down one level at a time. so  when i’m exhausted  the world doesn’t make a lot of sense. numbers, letters, sequences, passwords, phone numbers, questions, lists, addresses all lose their meaning. i feel that people are asking me things but the signal is interrupted.  just general thought process becomes extremely difficult. an example:  a task that i do every day like brushing my teeth: find tooth brush, find toothpaste, put the paste on the brush, run under tap, brush rinse what now what? ok done. these steps become challenges in themselves. preparing my toothbrush can take twenty minutes and then i’m literally in tears from the effort.

so this gets tricky when i have to keep on top of deadlines. especially because my tricky brain is shutting down and my tricky body is also trying to stop me: shooting adrenaline like i have to fight a bear.  the general tasks to run a body (eating hygiene etc) take it all out of me.  this last month i had several screenings, an larger art/film/fashion installation is starting up production, i have art showing next week and a speaking engagement. my  biggest fantasy is a day off with no workman in my house. a sleep in without wild barking at the work. being able to go to a social event without falling asleep and being able to follow a conversation.  having appetite (my appetite drops out when i have symptoms) is appealing too.

but after what felt like endless dark tunnel of tired, today there was a crack of light. after doing a few tasks and then walking tanner,  i didn’t feel like i’d run a marathon. my brain wasn’t thinking through glue. my body is only aching a burning a medium amount!  and i don’t feel overwhelmed with every tiny task. ahhh a type of heaven. it’s not the coolest feeling needing to be taken care of: not very empowering. i needed to make sure i was fed and driven to meetings and then home again. it’s hard to ask for help, especially with the basics of living.

on a side note, i am chuffed that google has accepted my work space as a “living modern art museum”  and am continually glad despite my life being such a challenge by creative brain is on fire. writing this has been tiring but i did it.

for those who follow me on facebook you can see that the harder a time i’m having, the more creative output i have. i update there everyday http://www.facebook.com/lisaanitawegner here is some stuff that got me though the last weeks: mouth music mashup

come here me speak march 6th in toronto.  “How Art Saved My Life” this week: http://wonderwomenworld.tumblr.com/Wonderfest

i feel my thinking slipping and it goes quickly. so i will bid you farewell for now. it’s been nice to be able to talk like this.

special thanks to all those who have gone above  and beyond this last month. you know who you are. thanks for the help, the food and the drives and all the support.

i really couldn’t do it without each and every one of you.

yours till the usa drinks canada dry

lisa

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a migraine got me off track yesterday and unravelled my thinking by the afternoon. although i did get some sound creative work and some networking done early in the day. i am trying to get used to relaxing in to the cognitive unravelling and enjoy it. sometimes a few hours sometimes a few days- i am lost in the moment. now don’t get me wrong, i couldn’t be happier to have found the ability to live in the moment  that fully and now i have to blend that wonderful childlike space (which can be productive) with being reliable and deadline able. i realize this will be easier once i have more full time help again. having a place to work has really has helped and it will be christmas every day when I get back to my old production office life. i know how to streamline things now and i feel like my time will be so much better spent.

so this morning i felt clear, but my production to do lists were alphabet soup. i had a sense of the work i have to do. my next step is drinking water and i entered an online art contest- there is nothing like making a pixel painting to clear my mind. i entered a stock photo contest on deviantART.com. ok that is made and entered and i feel more clear.

last night after relaxing and a long walk, after not thinking about deadlines at all, i thought about my list and i had clear sense of everything i needed to do for the projects. simple avenues to get to the final product. next steps, who to talk to and what to do. alleluja. right now, not so much. but i know it’s there.

i just had an idea of how to keep the workflow going. i am going to think on it. i will meet with my PM sarah and download into her again to refresh and now i can give her financial info to keep things moving without me. and last time i did that i was very productive afterward. i think the human connection helps to ground my thinking. i have phone calls to make to schedule the last of my trauma therapy but phone calls are not the thing to move me forward right now. man. although i think i will drink another glass of water, stretch, look at my list so it can percolate and then procure some food. i’ll listen to some music and take it from there.

by the end of the day i will have accomplished some list items. i can smell it in the air and taste it my coffee.

lisa anita wegner

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today i have a list of tasks to do for my films and for my upcoming art installation. this morning i realized my brain was not in place to do this. after a long work week last week and judging an art competition on the weekend i could feel my cognition slip and no matter how many times it happens, it is still scary. i know i have to not fight it, relax, do what i can and let it come back. in a fews hours of slipping cognition my body starts shooting adrenaline from the fear and badda boom i’m slipping in and out of crippling panic. sometimes i can’t breathe and get a cold sweat. once that happens i have to go back to basics and breathe. then the extreme fatigue sets in. then i have to talk myself through a few rituals; making coffee; brushing my teeth; showering, walking my dogs; making art. i have realized it’s impossible to think myself out of the hole, but i can focus on other things that grab me. i have found documentaries on brain, communication and consciousness and art can grab me.

because i am now working with a deadline i have to make my day work and then preparing my brain to do my tasks then becomes my work. the stress of not having the cognitive abilities to do simple things, while there is a deadline… can be… well deadly.

first of all the other day i decided to bring on an experienced production manager named sarah. this on the whole was a nice big step toward productivity because once i have downloaded the project into her brain (her expression) then i have another knowledgable problem solver with me. in the past weeks i have tried to set up a volunteer to help me but it ended up being too stressful for my current situation.

so today i have a short list of tasks (financing and creative) and at the moment they are written down on a list and as i’ve been working my way out of my brain hole, some solutions have already come to mind. right now they are fuzzy but i trust they are there. this manoeuver is basically an act of faith. it helps for me to picture the event im working toward, visualize the films looking gorgeous and sounding sharp. and the event going silky smooth and inspiring people.

then i made a picture of how i feel right now. this morning’s picture is called signal interrupted for obvious reasons. and then i decided to write this blog. i feel like i am both parent and toddler. i need to be entertained and distracted and then be ready and focused when my brain is prepped.

i need to stay in the moment and not look at the time. i need to know that i can do this and the pathway i have found through art making and now blogging is the safest way through.

the good thing is that once i can rig jig my brain to be able to do my tasks, i am so focussed that i go through them quickly and deliberately simply. and once i get through the list the relief feels like christmas morning.

i’m going to make some more art to figure out where i am at now. and then i can sneak the work in. i have been at this process figuring out a systematic approach for years now and this is the first larger scale project that i have taken on since getting sick in 2008.

i feel this is the path i will take to get back into full time film production, while it can be a tiring amount of work it actually steam lines things for me. i do think i need a full time volunteer assistant until i can bring someone onboard full time.

yay the ever changing brain,

lisa anita wegner

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