Kenosha art studio offers paint tossing as therapy to help troubled youth


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KENOSHA, Wis. (WDJT) — A Kenosha artist uses paint to help others deal with their traumas and anxieties.

Katy Wallner started painting years ago as a form of therapy and expression, but she never thought it would become a business.

“Just let every emotion you might be feeling, let it out,” Wallner said of his experience with painting.

She doesn’t just use a traditional brush. She often discards the paint or uses a spin cycle to create unique designs.

“It’s just a unique art studio that you walk into and it’s not about creating that certain image with a certain technique,” Wallner said.

Wallner now owns and operates Hot Mess Studios. It’s a place where people come to throw paint. And most of his sessions are used as psychosocial therapy for young people in difficulty and adolescents in care.

“[They say] ‘This is so cool’. I like when they say “I don’t know how to make art”, and I say

“Alright, let’s do it.”

It’s not about creating something that people understand or even admire, says Wallner, it’s about the process.

“It’s just about getting in and letting go, and letting your whole mind guide you through the process,” Wallner said.

Wallner has a personal connection to paint throwing. She was an adopted child herself and she struggled with anxiety, among other traumas.

“I felt a little rejected,” Wallner said. “There’s just a whole different kind of trauma that comes with that.”

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