From Coping To Commission: Randy Nicholson Uses Self-Expression(ism) to Change His Life

From Coping To Commission: Randy Nicholson Uses Self-Expression(ism) to Change His Life

We encourage you to share Randy's story as part of National Mental Health Awareness Month.

Randy Nicholson has only been painting for six years, and yet his evolution as an artist is astounding. Randy’s expressions of color and form, initially approached as therapy for bipolar disorder, are now hanging on walls in institutions such as Harvard University.

Primarily Chaotic

"My first real experience with art was as a healing agent through art therapy."


"I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I wasn't able to work anymore." 

Randy initially had trouble coping with his diagnosis. All aspects of life—from his health to his career and housing—were affected by the disorder. Randy began working on expressionistic artwork to unload the negative emotions that had built up within himself.

Signature of a Survivor

Art not only served as a healing agent and coping mechanism for Randy—it served as an avenue to change his life for the better. As Randy explains: "Art helped me, just therapeutically. And then it started to help me financially when I met Liz [Powers]. Since I’ve been with ArtLifting, I haven’t had problems with housing. I haven’t been hospitalized in the past three years.”

Since joining ArtLifting, Randy has slowly incorporated representational impressionism into his repertoire—partially in honor of one of his favorite artists and legend of the form, Van Gogh.

“That's why my work is turning a little away from abstract expressionism. I feel a kinship with Vincent Van Gogh, who also suffered from bipolar disorder.”

Randy still utilizes art as a form of therapy and is now being commissioned for his work. His newest commissioned piece, "Childhood Dream," hangs in the Leesa Dream Gallery in Soho, NYC.


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Photos by Ali Campbell

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