Lazy Creativity

Taking art therapy to print.

Kyle Bernier is a self-described night owl. While pursuing his undergraduate degree at UMD, Bernier’s late nights were often spent in the art studio producing labor-intensive stone lithography prints. Today, with a master’s degree and years of experience as an art therapist under his belt, Bernier still hasn’t kicked the habit of pulling all-nighters. However, his caffeine-fueled bursts of creativity are now aimed at a different goal: writing.

Bernier released his self-help book, Lazy Creativity: The Art of Owning Your Creativity in May 2021. Drawing from both his own experiences as a creative person and his time as an art therapist, Bernier sought to make the creative process seem approachable, achievable, and most of all, fun!

lazy cover

Not only has his book allowed Bernier's advice to reach a wider audience than therapy alone, it has also become his own creative outlet. Bernier is now working on his second book about creativity. However, writing hasn’t always been the end goal for Bernier.

Finding Passion

Bernier entered college as a psychology major, a subject that had interested him since high school. One of his psychology professors, Dr. Eric Hessler, was especially influential.

“Dr. Hessler was performing some research on motor control at the time,” said Bernier. “When I saw how excited he was about it, I wanted to see if I could get involved.”

Bernier worked as a research assistant through the rest of his time as an undergraduate. Bernier’s work with Dr. Hessler involved working at the intersection of sports psychology and exercise science. “It was involved and interesting,” said Bernier.

One research project that Bernier worked on through the Honors Program brought him to the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC). Professor Hessler was studying motor control, coordination, perception, and action. “We would meet down at the curling rinks,” recalled Bernier, “and we would set up this, probably $25,000 motion tracking camera on the ice.” The researchers would then hook up nodes to participants' joints, which the camera could then track. “And then, we would just have them go through a few curling motions.”

Bernier was passionate about psychology and the research it allowed him to perform. However, he couldn’t help but feel as though something was missing. In his junior year, Bernier decided to reignite an old passion: art, especially printing and lithography.

Bringing Art to Therapy

Bernier graduated from UMD with a psychology major and an art minor. With the encouragement of faculty at UMD, he decided to pursue a master's degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. “My psychology professors were very supportive of that decision,” said Bernier. “They had always emphasized the importance of art within mental health.”

After a rigorous course load, Bernier graduated from the Art Institute in 2019 with his master’s degree in art therapy and soon after took an art therapist position back in Minnesota. He worked in both one-on-one and group settings, promoting the message to “be creative on your own terms, whatever that looks like.” Sometimes, that creativity took the form of a few doodles during a more traditional therapy session. Other times, clients participated in larger projects.

Bernier recalled his “found object” group as being especially rewarding. “People would bring in random objects, often something they had found on the sidewalk, and say ‘I'm gonna turn this into my art piece.’ ”

Extending his Reach

Bernier found writing to be another way to further develop his passion for helping people through art. In September 2020, Bernier began working on what would become his book, Lazy Creativity.

“I wrote it within six months, just on top of my work,” said Bernier. “I would get home in the evening and write straight through to the morning.” The book was sent out to the editors in February 2021, and by May, it was published.

“The message I want the book to instill is, anyone can be creative with very little time. You can also be creative with zero dollars in your bank account.”  Bernier says that sometimes those restrictions actually make creativity “more inspired.”

Bernier is working on a second book tentatively called, Ugly Creativity. “It's all about the gritty side of creativity,” he says. “It’s for people who are going to make this a profession, so it's a little bit more focused on [how] to break into that creative field.” 

Bernier is taking his own advice. He’s following his own path and passions, and through his writing, Bernier hopes to make a difference in the creative world.

Learn more about Lazy Creativity 

About UMD's Psychology Department

About UMD's Art Department

About University Honors


This story was written by UMD student Jack Wiedner, who is majoring in journalism and political science. Jack works with Cheryl Reitan in University Marketing and Public Relations.