Art Therapy & Tarot: The Importance of Symbol; Then, Now, and Forevermore

Friday, Nov 18, 2022 6 – 8 pm

1524 N. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60610

The International Museum of Surgical Science (IMSS) is pleased to present the exhibition Art Therapy & Tarot: The Importance of Symbol; Then, Now, and Forevermore by artist Eric Dean Spruth, MA, ATR. The IMSS continues its active role in supporting Chicago and Illinois arts and artists through its "Anatomy in the Gallery" rotating contemporary art galleries. Art Therapy & Tarot opens on November 18th, 2022, and is on view through February 12, 2023. The Museum will host an opening reception on Friday, November 18 from 6-8:00 p.m. that is free and open to the public.

Eric Dean Spruth, MA, ATR (Ph.D. Candidate, Walden University) is a highly accomplished art therapist, practicing in fields across disciplines, including his therapeutic works and services within tattooing, music, writing, body casting; mastering many art media in the name of service as an art therapist, in service to his special needs populations across the country and around the world. In “Art Therapy & Tarot: The Importance of Symbol; Then, Now, and Forevermore,” Spruth gives us a look into his most recent works encompassing a college set of 78 card tarot cards and the craft, history, and cultural importance of the media. The borderless symbolism surrounding tarot is not of one person but all people. Through the tarot deck, Spruth connects the importance of creating art in unique ways as therapy for not only his patients but also himself.

It’s been a long and winding road for Eric Dean Spruth, MA, ATR with an evolution from his childhood doodling mad-boy to a profoundly spiritual, psychological, and personal approach to the world of fatherhood, tattooing, and art therapy he has today. Symbolism and art in tarot can be seen in the art of tattoo that the artist produces with clients in his nonprofit studio, Sacred Transformations/ TATTOO ART THERAPY. Tattoo is not only an art form but also a tool of healing for Mr. Spruth. Spruth and his clients share a deep investment in both the process and the product of tattoo. Spruth considers the art therapy process, including tattooing, as an act of empowerment and a tool for expressing intrinsic experiences.

"We are so pleased to host this exhibition by Eric Dean Spruth; a body of work that represents his artistic practice in unique areas of art and services, highlighting his prolific career in Art Therapy and his unparalleled endeavors in giving back to the community. We hope that this exhibition not only spotlights the importance of empathy in Art Therapy but also sparks important conversations surrounding healing." - Michelle Rinard, IMSS Curator.

"This exhibition and related topic are all based on my Mother's (Dalen Ida Spruth) and Father’s (Harold Alfred Spruth) love for the arts, persistence of freedom for all people, and the basic and fundamental right to explore the world we live on and those we live with. Many thanks to my mom and dad and my family at large for fueling my insatiable appetite for the Arts, for reading between the lines, for celebrating the symbol versus the word, the action versus the thought. My father’s 1973 gift to my mother of her very own James Bond 007 Tarot Deck, AKA Tarot of the Witches cards by Fergus Hall, that gift and access to those cards along with our family BOOK OF SAINTS was and continued to be the foundation of my lifelong fascination, inspiration and a very good place for me to be in this life." - Artist Eric Dean Spruth, MA, ATR.

This exhibition is done in connection with a programming series including artist talks, guest speakers in the field, and engagement events all surrounding the importance of Art Therapy and topics of healing, empowerment, remembrance, symbolism, and rebirth. Schedule information is forthcoming.

About the Artist: Eric Dean Spruth MA, ATR (Ph.D. Candidate) is a trained artist, graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an undergraduate degree in fine art with a minor in Psychology and Philosophy and a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy. He has served as a professor at the Adler School of Professional Psychology Art Therapy program and expressive art therapist within the Cook County Bureau of Health Cermak Health Services/ Cook County Jail, as well as a certified Hospital Bedside Magician offering Magic Therapy with Open Heart Magic. Additionally, Spruth is the founder of Sacred Transformation / TATTOO ART THERAPY collaborating with various human service agencies across the country and around the world including human trafficking programs, mental health programs, and correctional centers. Spruth’s efforts have been featured and recognized by many forms of media, including National Public Radio, Chicago Tonight, Chicago Tribune, The National Health Care, WTTW City Talk, Chicago Reader, WGN TV Morning News, Lakelife Magazine, and many many Tattoo Magazines. Spruth has received many awards and recognition in his field, both as an artist, art therapist, and tattooist.

About Tattoo Art Therapy: TAT: Sacred Transformations/ TATTOO ART THERAPY, is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that was founded by Eric Dean Spruth in 2003 after realizing a need to help those with demonstrative tattoos that he could recognize were experiencing great distress in their self-identity and their personal value as a result of their tattoos. TAT seeks to help people move forward with their lives and away from negative experiences by providing transformative art therapy that minimizes, transforms, or erases these no-longer desired body marks or scars, to give people a fresh start. Eric never claims he is the one helping the individuals but rather the organization is the one helping.

Image Credit: Eric Dean Spruth, MA, ATR. Judgement Major Arcana Tarot Card #20. 2022. Collage Art.