SESSION 26: Art Journaling with Visual Storyteller Mo Thunder


We are excited to announce Mo Thunder (they/them), a talented non-binary, neuroemergent, Onyota'a:ka (Oneida) x french-canadian art-maker x visual storyteller, as our special guest this week. This is a session you will not want to miss! It is a great entry point if you are joining us for the first time.  

During this session, Mo will share their process on how creating a visual art journal has been an imperative part to their healing and learning. Mo has extensive experience using the art journal, and continues to hold workshops to share this gift with others. They are currently working on a visual art journal with/for Indigenous folks, scheduled to be released in 2022. Join us as we listen and learn from this incredible visual storyteller, and see how we can use this skill to integrate in our own lives! 

Recommended Materials List

  • scissors / x-acto knife
  • magazines 
  • sketchbook, journal, notebook or old book to upcycle
  • glue 
  • paint markers or markers
  • paint of any kind
  • fine-liner pen(s) (microns are my favourite!)
  • scrap papers
  • photos

Prompts from the Artist:

  • What story will you tell? "And this is kind of interesting to me because it's kind of I've been working on - well what story, am I going to tell, or what story do I want to tell? Because we all carry so many". 
  • Create a repeating patttern. "Repetition is my favorite thing in the world. There's something so relaxing about making patterns, repeating emotion, creating the same kind of shape. The flow of lines like all of that is very much my jam. These have no other intention, other than just creating patterns that feel good for me. So, sometimes that's all I need I don't need it to mean anything I don't need it to be anything. It just needs to come out of me". 
  • Learn to focus on listening to your intuition. "My own intuition and my own knowing is powerful. I don't focus what everyone else is trying to tell me. Works don't have to be complicated to be powerful, there's power in simplicity. I think that I always try to overcomplicate things unknowingly. So, it's nice when I do create something that's quite simple but you know complex, deep down". 

Blackout Poetry: 

  • Use blackout poetry techniques to tell your story. "I love poetry because it's so intuitive and forgiving, and sometimes I have a hard time with words so if the words are already there, then I can circle the ones that I like or that I'm drawn to blackout the rest and then make a new story or new poem". 
  • Blackout poetry is you grab a chunk of text, it can be from a magazine, it can be from your own writing, it can be from song lyrics of your favorite musicians. Read through the text and circle of highlight words that stand out. Try to find linking words (and, then, the, but, I, is...). 
  • Create your poem using the words you circled or highlited. Then any words that you didn't circle, or highlight, black out with a permanent marker or paint.
  • Your poem then becomes a new story. 


About Mo Thunder, Artist and Community Facilitator, (they/them)

Mo is a non-binary, neuroemergent, Onyota'a:ka (Oneida) x french-canadian art-maker x visual storyteller. They are currently based on Dish with One Spoon Territory (Tkaronto) and grew up on Anishinaabe land, downriver from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, where they have family ties.

Mo holds a BFA in studio art with a focus on silkscreen printing, photography and video from fanshawe college and lethbridge university. They are a diploma candidate at the toronto art therapy institute with their major project/thesis being a community, art and land-based creative expression program for Indigenous youth aged 18-30 in Tkaronto called Our Stories Our Truths (OSOT).

Mo has over 15 years of experience in community arts facilitation, collaboration and consultation. They have been working as a community arts organizer since high school by starting an art club with a few other students. They’ve also been creating solo x collaborative murals since high school. They love co-creating with communities to connect visual imagery, ideas, concepts and stories to create a final design that is painted by everyone who shared input.

Through their multidisciplinary art practice (painting, collaging, beading, journaling and sewing), they aim to express stories about intergenerational growth/healing, neurodiversity, identity, and empowerment. They are currently working on a visual art journal with/for Indigenous folks, scheduled to be released in 2022!


Taking Care: Where Art Meets Wellness is supported by the Solcz Family Foundation.