Unleashing the creativity of ADHD: how artists are redefining the narrative

In a world that often misunderstands and stigmatises ADHD, a growing community of artists is challenging the status quo.

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

According to a recent report in Men's Health, there has been a staggering 400% increase in the number of adults seeking a diagnosis of ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) since 2020, shedding light on the struggles many creatives face.

Joanna Henly, an artist, founder, mentor, and speaker, has been working closely with ADHD and ASD (autism spectrum disorder) creatives for over four years. And she understands first-hand the challenges and triumphs of navigating a diagnosis.

We need to talk

"When our coping mechanisms are taken away from us – running, gym, meeting friends, connection – the signs start to show," Joanna explains. "People don't talk about this enough."

Joanna's own journey with ADHD has been a transformative one. After her recent diagnosis, she took time off work to research, attend accredited courses online, and fully immerse herself in understanding how to navigate her condition.

Now, she is dedicated to supporting fellow artists in reclaiming their narratives and embracing their unique strengths.

"ADHD brains are incredibly brave, resilient, and super creative," Joanna says. They have insane superpowers, are inventors, innovators, and magical leaders. My work as a mentor is supporting artists in moving through their limiting beliefs and shining the light on their amazing skills, some of which they don't even see themselves."

Join the masterclass

On 17 April, she'll host an online masterclass, which will aim to provide practical tips and resources to help artists with ADHD identify and leverage their strengths.

"We'll explore how to create amazing work even through the chaotic and often messy process," she explains. "And I'll share my story of collecting the 'no's' to lead me closer to the 'yes's' and overcoming mental health – starting before I was ready and being brave enough to be one of the most celebrated illustrators back in the day."

Joanna Henly

Joanna Henly

Best of all, Joanna is offering Creative Boom readers 20% off the ticket price using the promo code JoMCADHD. "These are very well attended by a wonderfully warm, supportive growing community," she enthuses. "I feel this will be a real win for Creative Boom readers to attend."

Joanna's journey

Joanna's own journey has been one of resilience and growth. After a four-year break from creative work, she recently launched her best solo show to date, a testament to the power of patience and perseverance.

For Joanna, the key to unlocking the creative potential of ADHD lies in shifting the narrative and empowering artists to celebrate their unique gifts. "With a lifetime of being told they're lazy, not motivated, stupid, and careless, it often leads to an adult life of people-pleasing, imposter syndrome, fear, and doubt," she reflects.

But by reminding them of their strengths, capabilities, and the incredible impact they can have, we can help those around us shine brighter than ever before.

As the ADHD community continues to grow and find its voice, Joanna's work stands as a beacon of hope, inspiring artists to redefine how ADHD is perceived and harness the power of their creativity in awe-inspiring ways.

Discount offer

Are you interested in taking part? Creative Boom readers can get 20% off Joanna's ADHD masterclass on 17 April with the promo code JoMCADHD.


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