Manitoba·Video

Painting through pain: Recovering addict seeks solace in art

Winnipeg artist Amanda Smart recently marked one year of sobriety — a journey which was aided in large part by her art practice, and one laid bare in a new short video called Art Soldier.

'My drink of choice was more': Navy vet Amanda Smart's journey to sobriety is subject of new video Art Soldier

Winnipeg artist Amanda Smart's journey to sobriety — one aided in large part by her art practice — is the focus of the new video Art Soldier. (CBC)

Amanda Smart's problem with alcohol started as casual drinking with friends. 

That casual partying escalated into binge drinking during a two-and-a-half-year stint with the Royal Canadian Navy. 

"My drink of choice was 'more,'" said Smart, who voluntarily left the navy but continued to drink excessively to self-medicate her anxiety.

Smart, a Winnipegger, recently marked one year of sobriety — a journey which was aided in large part by her art practice, and one laid bare in a new short video called Art Soldier.

"It's the hardest thing I have ever done," she said. "You have to be willing and able. One decision and you could be going in the wrong direction again."

Navy vet Amanda Smart heals anxiety and alcoholism with art. The video was produced for CBC's Creator Network by Winnipeg filmmakers Sherry Larocque, and David Zellis and Craig Guiboche of Zellco Productions. 4:23

Art Soldier was produced for CBC's Creator Network by Winnipeg filmmakers  David Zellis and Craig Guiboche, of Zellco Productions, and Sherry Larocque.

Smart, meanwhile, is also a recent graduate of Artbeat Studio's artist in residence program. The Winnipeg-based non-profit organization supports people with mental health issues through their art.

This year, Smart is one of eight artists whose work appears in The Nth Degree, Artbeat Studio's 29th biannual exhibition.

The exhibition, which features paintings, sculptures, textile art, mixed media, and jewelry, runs daily from noon to 5 p.m. until July 26 at the Artbeat Studio at 62 Albert St. in Winnipeg.

With files from Robin Summerfield