Jeff Sparr is living proof that creativity can change lives!
Diagnosed with OCD in college, Jeff spent the next 20 years fighting against his mental illness while trying to live a “normal” life—launching a business, getting married, and starting a family.
At the suggestion of a friend, Jeff decided to try his hand at painting and discovered a secret that would change the course of his life. Painting subdued the symptoms of his OCD, providing a creative outlet and sense of control that was missing from his life. For Jeff, the discovery of painting was the discovery of a superpower. He has since dedicated his life to sharing this superpower with people around the globe through his painting, speaking, and workshops.
Jeff is the co-founder of PeaceLove, a nonprofit that delivers expressive arts curriculum through simple creative activities that prompt reflection and connection. PeaceLove’s Workshops combine introspection and storytelling to jumpstart gentle and healthy conversations around mental health. Jeff has spent the past 20 years sharing his story with diverse communities including NBC Nightly News, The Discovery Channel, NPR, Hallmark, Zappos, The World Economic Forum, YMCA Global Conference, TEDx, Social Venture Network, Ohio State University, Harvard University, Brown University Department of Neuroscience, McLean Hospital, and Cannes Lions. His art has found its way into various galleries, private collections, permanent installations, the Grammy’s MusiCares and served as inspiration for various retail merchandise and cause related campaigns.
In addition to being the PeaceMan, Jeff is most proud to be a loving husband and caring Dad to his three children.
Innovation Through Art
If you can’t say it, create it! Art can help your audience and organization free their mind allowing for greater creativity and innovation in the workplace. It allows us to access untapped portions of our talent that can be transformative, and help each of us embrace the hidden creativity within us all. Drawing from his own personal story and experience, Jeff uses his storytelling talent to inspire audiences to let go of their preconceived notions and access their hidden talents.
Art, Healing and Social Change (Symbolic Path)
We each walk a unique path in life, living out stories that may seem unlikely given where we started. By exploring the meaning of four key symbols and how they represent different circumstances along the journey, participants will examine their individual purpose in life. Then through creative expression, each person will depict the dream they are being called to follow. We will also take a look at the social change taking place with story-sharing and communities that are being formed in support of mental wellness.
My Journey: Mental Wellness Through Art (Dream Big)
PeaceLove Studios is a movement of hope and support for those impacted by mental health disorders. Jeff sheds a much needed light on a population that is both invisible and misunderstood by sharing his personal experience with his mental health, and how the power of art changed his life forever. He will inspire and empower you and your audience to dream of a better tomorrow for those affected by mental illness. Everyone has something they are dealing with. If there is a way to help people find the thing that brings them peace, Jeff wants to help them find it.
With a Blank Canvas – Anything is Possible
A Blank Canvas can be intimidating to a painter – but is also a place where anything is possible. In this talk, Jeff challenges the audience to follow their dreams by sharing his improbable and inspiring story of becoming an artist and creating PeaceLove Studio.
The Face of OCD
This presentation focuses specifically on my battle with OCD and what it’s like to fight something that is invisible and misunderstood.
PeaceLove Foundation is excited to offer Scribl– expressive arts programming that makes talking about mental health easier. Through pairing different creative modalities like painting, collage, and writing, with reflective prompts around choice, transition, and perspective– Scribl adds a little joy to the mental wellness journey.
Express the complicated nature of conflicting feelings through self-portraiture
Through writing, personification, and three-dimensional collage, this workshop considers the unique paths of each individual community member.
Express thanks for the good things in life through the symbolism of a garden.
Here is a sampling of some of Jeff's art, L-R:
1. “Kisses for the guys”
2. “Two femmes a Paris”
3. “½ Daddy”
4. “Best Friends”