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.”
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
“Art Therapy Without Borders, Inc., is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit incorporation organized exclusively for charitable, educational, and networking purposes to promote, develop, and support international art therapy initiatives and the work of art therapists worldwide. ATWB was founded in April 2010 to meet the need for an organization dedicated to a global art therapy community; the exchange of information, news, media, and resources; the development of online educational opportunities; and the advancement of collaboration and research. Our core mission is to encourage the use of art in service to others in need through art therapy, art in healthcare, and art as a form of social transformation.
The Art Therapy Alliance and International Art Therapy Organization have formed this umbrella organization to consolidate our programs, but still provide the art therapy community with a vital social network dedicated to education, research, information exchange, and service to others.”
All text and video taken from http://www.atwb.org/.
Posted in Acrylic Painting, Art Therapy, Bipolar Art, Borderline Art, Ceramics, Dementia, Illustration, Mental Health, Oil Painting, Painting, Schizophrenia, Watercolour
Tagged art therapy, artist, bipolar, borderline, drawing, group therapy, medication, mental health, mhuk, nhs, painting, schizophrenia, therapy
I found a great Facebook Page the other day – Art Therapy Alliance. In their own words they “embrace social media & connection online to promote art therapy, the work of art therapists, & build community.
The Art Therapy Alliance is an online professional group for art therapists on LinkedIn and fans on Facebook founded by Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC. Our website, Twitter, and Facebook fanpage feature resources, groups, blogs, and more related to the field of art therapy worldwide.”
Penny Saylor talks about some of her art work while standing in front of a picture she painted of her daughter, Kandace Merrill, from when she was a child. Saylor and her daughter have their artwork on display in the lobby at Community Mental Health of Muskegon and a reception was held on Wednesday evening for the pair. Chronicle Photo by Matt Gade.
If you take only a cursory scan of their fanpage wall you can see various news items regarding health and wellbeing (not all directly mental health related) including the current exhibition of clinically depressed artist Penny Saylor from Michigan, USA, and Donna Mitchell, diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder three years ago.
Penny Saylor talks with Chris Erickson about her piece called “Dreams” during a reception at the Community Mental Health of Muskegon on Wednesday afternoon in the lobby. Saylor and her daughter Kandace Merrill are the feature artists in the Gallery at CMH Muskegon. Chronicle Photo by Matt Gade.
The Art Therapy Alliance fanpage is interesting, informative and a great resource to further your experience of art, creativity and mental health service users as well as art therapy and how creating art can be therapeutic. In August-September 2010 the ATA set up an artist trading card swap project. Here is a video about the project and some of the cards traded. It’s a lovely concept and one that builds interaction between artists who are also mental health service users.
Photos in this article copywrite Muskegon Chronicle.
Posted in Acrylic Painting, Bipolar Art, Borderline Art, Ceramics, Illustration, Mental Health, Oil Painting, Painting
Tagged art therapy, bipolar, bpd, depression, illness, mental health, pd, stigma, trauma, wellbeing
Start in Manchester is an NHS mental health organisation with a bit of a twist. They are an art in mental health organisation, nationally recognised as a leader in its field, who offer therapeutic services based on the experience of creativity. Through art and gardening courses the team help to “maintain mental wellbeing, develop coping strategies and self-care skills, and regain the confidence to move back into mainstream life.”
Working with people experiencing long-term mental difficulties and distress Start offer a mix of skills to their students (all mental health service users) including visual arts, horticulture and occupational therapy. When service users join Start they usually have no or very little previous experience of art however they find their talents are drawn out through the creative, supportive learning environment. To find out more about Start click here.
The images displayed on this page are a selection from Start’s galleries, including drawing and painting, ceramics and mosaic work. Start not only exhibit their service users’ work but they have also completed a number of commissions which is my favourite thing about the project.
Posted in Alzheimer's, Bipolar Art, Borderline Art, Ceramics, Dementia, Illustration, Mental Health, Oil Painting, Painting, Schizophrenia, Start Manchester, Watercolour
Tagged art therapy, bipolar, borderline, disability, drawing, mental health, nhs, ocd, painting, psychotic, schizophrenia, service users, start in manchester, therapy
Twitter friend (and actual cousin of actual real life friend) @PetrolPete told me the other day about an exhibition of art in mental health, by service users, that he had been to in Denmark. He was also kind enough to supply a link to the museum so, with not a minute to waste, I stick it up here on the blog.
Museum Overtaci is situated in Aarhus University Hospital, Risskov. It is an old psychiatric hospital designed by G. Bindesboll, opened in 1852. It now houses the art museum and the museum of psychiatry, an extensive collection of furniture, implements, medical tools and patient artifacts from the hospital workshop. The purpose of the museum is to “demystify mental illness through a thought-provoking insight into the fate and lives of people in an otherwise secluded and obscure world. It tells us a very distinctive chapter of Danish history, from a psychiatric point of view, and reflects the social climate of contemporary society.”
The Art Museum is on the ground floor of this typically overbearing albeit magnificent 19th century asylum. It houses over 6,000 works of art. Currently there are 850 art works on display, representing 86 artists, all of whom were mentally ill, the majority of them having been admitted to the hospital themselves. The most famous artist represented in the Art Museum is Louis Marcussen, also known as ‘Overtaci’.
Please visit the Museum website to find out more about the history and artists at the museum.
I’d also like to mention that @PetrolPete has a blog you absolutely must check out, The Bionic Vapour Boy.
Posted in Aarhus University Hospital, Bipolar Art, Borderline Art, Illustration, Mental Health, Oil Painting, Psychiatric Hospitals, Schizophrenia, Watercolour
Tagged Aarhus University Hospital, denmark, illness, mental health, mental spaghetti, mental wellbeing, overtaci, psychiatric hospital