Diagnosed with psychosis six years ago, Tempok has submitted some words and art:
“A group of masked scientists stand around a TV screen in a stark white room watching a small child while he sits on the floor playing quietly. What is he thinking? Does he know about the accident or that he’s in a coma? Does he even realise that he is creating the world around him – including his mum and dad and baby sister – in his head?
Was it ever just a game? As far back as I can remember I was always being watched. Then they wrapped cotton wool around my head and muffled the paranoia. By that time I had already learned how to escape the mental barrage: I simply shut down all of my thinking faculties – cutting my nose off to spite my face.
Now the system is slowly being rebooted…”
Posted in Acrylic Painting, Depression, Mental Health, Painting, psychosis
Tagged art therapy, depression, diagnosed, medication, mental health, psychosis, tempok, wellness
Lovely Terence Wilde is having an end of exhibition Private View this Friday 4th May from 4-6pm at Highgate Mental Health Centre. There’s loads of paintings and drawings on display (a few from his collection are featured below) and it really is well worth going to see. I visited his last Private View and was enchanted by his drawings and paintings. If you would like to see more of his work, please check out his website.
I also wrote more about Terence here, so please check that out to see more paintings and info, plus the address for Highgate Mental Health Centre.
‘I was an impossible case’
‘Hear No Evil’
Last night I went to a private view of Terence Wilde’s work at Highgate Mental Health Centre. I was lucky enough to meet up with Terence, a charming man with a super sense of style. He used to be a fashion print designer but gave it up due to the demands of the job. Terence now works at Bethlem Hospital. He is also an ex-service user. Terence says his “paintings reflect tortuously working my way through life from the perspective of an adult survivor”. He also described drawing as ‘trepanning without the drilling’, one of the best and dryly funny descriptions of art as therapy that I have ever heard.
‘Tell Me About your Childhood!’
Terence is exhibiting paintings and illustration at the gallery in Highgate, and the show will be running until May 10th. There will be a special closing event for the show which I will be blogging about nearer the time.
‘In the Counting House’
Terence describes creativity “as a healing tool, emotionally to describe, spiritually to make sense of. The process of self-acceptance, of being comfortable in your own skin, is the stem of my creative processes; it has enabled me to function in a healthier, true place.”
Terence’s paintings are awesome and if you can make it please do go and check out the exhibition. My favourite work on display is the illustration but I am biased since illustration is my thing. I did take photographs but they didn’t come out very well so for now I am going to put a load of his artworks from his website up. When I go back to the exhibition I will take some better photos and put them up here.
Please check out Terence’s website here. If you would like to order prints or artwork please get in touch with Terence directly through his website contact details.
If you would like to visit the exhibition, the address is Highgate Mental Health Centre, Darthmouth Park Hill Highgate, London N19 5NX, Tel: 020 7561 4000. Please call them to find out opening times.
“Life is an unravelling of self/A skill learned/A road travelled without a map/Living life is an art form/Like origami in reverse”
-Terence Wilde, September 2005
‘Swan Lake Revisited’
‘Beloved (Kate Bush’s Angel)’
‘Case of Casey’s Vespers’
‘Don’t Look Under the Bed’
‘Bette Davis Angel’
‘Do I Look Fat in This?’
‘The Girl with Hoopla Hair’
Posted in Acrylic Painting, Art Therapy, Bethlem, Depression, Highgate Mental Health Centre, Illustration, Mental Health, Painting, Terence Wilde, Watercolour
Tagged art therapy, drawing, exhibition, highgate mental health centre, illustration, nhs, painting, terence wilde, therapy
I recently received a submission from Harli Tree, who lives with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Harli Tree prefers her ‘alters’ to be addressed so I will be describing Harli as ‘they’ rather than ‘her’ and ‘she’. Harli runs an impressive website for art and photography and I urge you to go and spend some time on it. They were also recently interviewed by Art Therapy Blog. I have linked to both below the bio from Harli, below.
“We were diagnosed about a year and half ago and have weekly talking and art therapy and that has now developed quickly into a website for showcasing our art and photography. We were recently featured artist on www.arttherapyblog.com where you will see an interview and our art, and in the reflections magazine and on various other art websites – we have also exhibiting our work at an exhibition in Norwich and have 2 paintings in an exhibition at Royal Brompton Hospital.”
“We live, work and create whilst experiencing the daily challenge of Dissociative Identity Disorder. There’s the host and eight alters and photography has recently become a creative form of expression for one of the alters and the host, whilst all of us engage in Art Therapy. The use of art in therapy enables us to communicate and express our experience in a safe way. It allows us to discharge and process these difficult experiences and feelings which, once outside, can be reflected upon by all of us. The images created help different alters to meet one another and to begin to engage with the different self-stories that they each hold for the host.”
Walking into the Fire
Harli Tree’s interview and featured on Art Therapy.
Harli Tree’s website.
More images from Harli Tree below…
Evil Passage of Time
Posted in Acrylic Painting, Art Therapy, DID Art, Harli Tree, Mental Health, Painting, Photography
Tagged art therapy, did, Harli Tree, mental health, multiple personality disorder, photography, wellness
Trawling the internet looking for new articles and artists to feature on this site I stumbled across a wonderful ‘art-science’ (science inspiring art and art communicating science) competition on the subject of ‘Diversity or Disorder’ and ‘Stages of the Brain’. Please read the flyer below to find out more.
Here are some images I would like to share with you from the Imagining the Brain website.
‘Between You and Me’ by Nathalie Kantaris-Diaz, Parkside Federation
Entry in the category: Diversity or Disorder?
“I wanted to convey a strong sense of empathy to the viewer as they see the tortured man in the painting and understand the strength of his feelings. I do not want the viewer merely to dismiss him as a man with a disorder. I wanted to show the diversity of his feelings within the subtle, varied colourings of the brain, but also to show how the absolute darkness of the background threatens to engulf any other feelings present in the painting.”
‘Jane’ by Kate Kelly, Parkside Federation
Entry in the category: Diversity or Disorder?
“This painting is of Jane, she has Bipolar. Her bipolar interested me and I wanted to show her two sides and how the disorder affected her. I was also inspired by the TV advert of the man having a stroke, I thought that could also show bipolar in the brain. The burning and eating away the flesh gave me the idea to have the ripped canvas. I did this because we can then look inside at her depressed side and see how she feels inside.”
‘Anorexia and Obesity’ by Ciara Byford, Parkside Federation
Entry in the category: Diversity or Disorder?
“My idea was to try and show the similarities and differences between anorexia and obesity. They are both eating disorders for people that don’t have much confidence or confidence issues with their looks but are both opposites. One forces the person to lose a lot of weight by not eating and the other makes the person overeat because they intake too much food.”
Mara McWilliams’ website is a tour de force. Through her site www.maramcwilliams.com, I have stumbled upon a great bubbling vat of creativity that, at many points, springs directly from her experiences with mental disorder. I say at many points as although lots of her paintings and writing come directly from ‘that place’, sometimes hugely creative during manic episodes, lots of her articles and work is reflective on what it is like living a life with bipolar disorder, depression, borderline personality disorder, anorexia and self-harm.
Mara has learnt over the years to go with her bodys’ flow and work with her disorders in an organic way. She speaks wisely of ‘taking responsibility’ as a bipolar woman. This is an interesting way to look at mental disorder, as if it is a tool to work with rather than something that, although it can, blights ones life and can only destroy it. While we can’t all be in control all of the time with mental disorder, it is refreshing to read about someone who has got to a level where they have learnt about how to cope in their own way, and protect themselves from the attack of mental disorder.
In any case, Mara’s website is an essential resource if you want to peer into the mind of someone living with issues of ‘teh mental’. She has some brilliant articles that you really must read, including using art therapy for good mental health.
A bio from Mara’s website…
“My work revolves around the concepts of hope, healing, and expressionism. I believe that by feely sharing emotion through color choices and brush strokes, we become in touch with our true selves. Creating art is almost a meditative process for me that is motivated by my spirituality. Due to technology, we long ago stopped needing the artist to accurately represent reality. I see my responsibility as an artist to give the viewer the opportunity to see worlds that before might have previously been shut off to them. Giving the viewer a different perspective on life, is perhaps the biggest honor an artist can receive.
As an openly Bipolar woman, the recurring goal of my work is to inspire other individuals with mental illness. I want those with a mental illness to know that there is a life full of wonderful possibilities after diagnosis.
I want others like myself to find the beauty in their unique mind and utilize it, like I have with my art. Art creates freedom and hope in my life. It is my goal to share the process of self-discovery and letting go that allows one to live a more stable life full of contentment.”
Isolated Woman 2
Posted in Acrylic Painting, Anorexia, Bipolar Art, Borderline Art, Depression, Eating Disorder, Mara McWilliams, Mental Health
Tagged anorexia, articles, bipolar, drawing, journalism, mara mcwilliams, mental health, painting, poetry, self harm, writing
It’s a relief it’s over. Only because I thought I would be rubbish at conducting the workshop. But as it turns out it went really blooming well.
On Saturday 8th October I ran a workshop as part of the Scottish Mental Health Art and Film Festival in Edinburgh. The workshop was predominantly for mental health service users, however anyone was invited to take part. After a brief (and very nervous) ramble about who I am and what I do, I led the class in an illustration workshop. And boy, did they work hard. Three solid hours of drawing!
The idea behind the workshop is to illustrate a day in the life of a mental health service user. It doesn’t have to be a generic day, and it doesn’t have to involve waking up and getting dressed…it doesn’t have to be literal. I wanted it to be a memory, or a feeling, it could be an abstract piece of work that does not stick to the lines of the comic strip. It can be colours or words or shapes. Or it can just be a stickman and it can just be a boring day. It’s about what you feel, how you feel being a mental health service user. And a person.
I took a whole load of materials up from London (in the heaviest bag known to man) so everyone could have a go using different pens, inks and paints. As well as a massive stash of pencil crayons and brush pens the artists got to try out dip pens, acrylic inks, marker pens, charcoal and pastel crayons as well as using mixed media such as collage.
Ultimately I would like to publish a graphic novel of collected strips from mental health service users. If this is something you would like to be involved in, please get in touch.
Some photos of what we completed at the workshop follow. If you would like to see all the photos from the day, including some of the exhibitions installed at the same venue, please click here and scroll through pictures to the right.
Posted in Acrylic Painting, Art Therapy, Bipolar Art, Borderline Art, Dementia, Depression, Drawing, Eating Disorder, Illustration, Mental Health, Oil Painting, Oil Pastels, Organisations, Painting, PTSD, Schizophrenia, Watercolour
“My name is Andrew John Williams, I was born and brought up in Wakefield, west Yorkshire, but now live closer to Huddersfield, also in west Yorkshire. I’m 44 years old. I mainly paint abstract artwork in a loose splatter, daub and drip like fashion. I hardly use brushes and knives any more, maybe the ends of brushes to draw through the liquid paint to make interesting shapes and patterns.
I was involved in Inspire, an arts group at my local psychiatric hospital on a voluntary basis for over five years. Inspire was great because it involved people from the wards along with service users in the community. We had many exhibitions and did some positive work with people there. It is still running but I no longer am involved, but pop in to say hello occasionally to see the members.”
Andrew goes on to describe his mental health difficulties as “long and enduring, and have been isolating, with social misinterpretation problems in the community also. It’s been a long road towards understanding myself and changing, but I feel now that I am slowly getting there after all this time. Art has kept me going through the darkest times and still continues to keep me optimistic about the future. The artworks featured are pieces I did in very depressed states that were expressing my inner feelings at the time, my personal feelings. ‘Paranoia’ (top image) and ‘Sad Clown’ (middle image) were done in the late 1990′s and ‘Adversity’ (bottom image) was done in 2009.”
Andrew finishes his submission by adding “I have a large collection of artwork myself that I’d like to exhibit in the near future that’s more abstract, loose spontaneous artwork. I think it important to not get into being known as an outsider artist, for those that want to go that route and it works for them fine, but it was never what I wanted to be labelled as. I see myself as an individual that painted very personal pieces at difficult times, and am proud of them, and don’t mind sharing them to maybe allow someone else to gain something from my expressions of pain, angst, depression etc. But, not all my work is about that, it’s about my personality and everyday situations, experiences, thoughts, ideas, so I don’t want to be labelled as anything, in fact I like to try new things constantly and don’t stick to one style or formula that works, that way I feel as though I can keep things fresh and contemporary.”
Posted in Acrylic Painting, Art Therapy, Depression, Mental Health, Oil Painting, Painting, Psychiatric Hospitals, Watercolour
Tagged anger, art therapy, community, depression, inpatient, mental health, outpatient, psych ward, psychiatric
Savannah Borderline recently submitted some work to the website. Savannah is an 18 year old girl diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. You can read about her diagnosis, living life with mental health ‘difficulties’ (I hate this expression but struggle to find the right way to describe how we get by), and how she gets through the mh system without going totally loopsome on her blog, Life of a Maybe Borderline.
Savannah enjoys painting these characters for her fiancé, who she describes as “an obsessive computer gamer”, because she’d rather paint for someone who’ll appreciate it. I guess I should have said somewhere on the blog that I will happily take copied artwork, and that it is every bit as important as original artwork because of the therapeutic process you go through to produce a finished piece. Savannah writes on her blog “I like drawing and painting, I enjoy creating things. I am a generally creative person, it’s so therapeutic and rewarding. Creativity leads to feelings of accomplishment.”
Please follow our lovely Savannah on Twitter, friend her on Facebook and don’t forget to read her blog.
Posted in Acrylic Painting, Art Therapy, Borderline Art, Mental Health, Painting, SBorderline
Tagged abuse, borderline personality disorder, bpd, lifeofamaybeborderline, mental health, pd, personality disorder, PTSD, self harm, trauma
Dave Smurthwaite is an artist, writer, creative and, of course, a mental health service user living in London. He recently sent me a journalistic piece of writing on his time as an inpatient, a sort of ‘tips for the uninitiated’, having been sectioned 4 times, which he found a “harrowing, soul burning experience”. You can find that piece of writing amongst others here.
I took a look at his website and found an Aladdin’s cave of creativity; I want to feature most of his work on this site! So, choosing a few pieces is certainly difficult, and, with his permission, I will show more of his pieces from time to time.
Two of my favourite images in his albums are the sketches above with their loose and energetic mark making. But Dave also makes more graphic-design inspired work, like these gorgeous multimedia collages bursting with shapes, patterns and colours…
Dave also runs a mental health community website, Mmmeta, “a community of creative people who have been affected by mental illness. The site is intended to be a place to share with like minded people, support each other and express ideas and emotions in creative ways. mmmeta. is not excusive, it’s inclusive.”. To find out more about Mmmeta and join the community, click here. Watch the introduction to Mmmeta below.
As well as all this he runs the website for Bath Visual Arts Fringe Festival. Please do have a look at this website as the Bath Fringe Festival is excellent and you will no doubt find out loads of interesting, quirky and impressive happenings. And make sure you visit the Festival this year!
Apropos of nothing, I just love this funny little chihuahua-cheese…
Dave suffers from schizophrenia and you can read his online diary here.
You can buy Dave’s work from his Etsy shop. Or you might just find him selling his work on Bayswater Road in the sunshine…
Posted in Acrylic Painting, Dave Smurthwaite, Illustration, Mental Health, Painting, Psychiatric Hospitals, Schizophrenia
Tagged bath fringe festival, collage, dave smurthwaite, drawing, graphic design, hospital, illness, medication, mental health, painting, psychotic, schizophrenia, sectioned