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’
Silvis Rivers, known as “Pillvis Depressely” to friends, is an artist particularly interested in illustrations, poetry and photography. He also has some amazing sculpture work. I found him through the blog Birmingham User Watch, an “Independent Occasionally Very Satired View Of Mental Health NHS Issues As Well As Those Further Afield”. His illustration series ‘The Purple Bunny Plan’ and ‘HSJ Mogger’ caught my eye and are definitely worth investigating further. You can do this by going to his Flickr profile and also employing the trusty Google machine to find out what else he is up to (the Highcroft Lifebook Film is very interesting as is ‘The Highcroft Lifebook Project & African Masks’, a project ‘In Remembrance Of My Family Of 18 Who Suffered In The Workhouse And Mental Hospital’).
Images from ‘The Highcroft Lifebook Project & African Masks’
Today I’d like to turn your attention to the rather amazing blog ‘Art Therapy’. I check in with it every day to find out the latest art therapy news. It is an invaluable source for service users, art therapists, learners, facilitators and the simply interested.
On the blog you’ll find featured artists, posts by specialist practitioners, interviews, news stories and links to fascinating articles and documentaries. Make sure you do visit the Art Therapy blog by going to www.arttherapyblog.com.
I’m off to a special private view tonight at Highgate Mental Health Centre. Will report back with pictures and a write-up.
“HealthScreen”: Understanding Illness through Film
MedFest 2012 is a FREE film festival, which will tour the UK in February/March 2012. Its target audience is primarily medical students, but we expect to welcome a range of health professionals, as well as members of the public, and indeed our patients.
Films provide a powerful medium for entertainment, but also education. Public opinion is drastically swayed by moving images in the form of adverts, documentaries, public health campaigns and feature films.
The remit of MedFest 2012 is to provoke debate of the social, political and ethical implications of depictions of health and illness on our screens. When inaccurate, these portrayals can create myths, propagate falsehoods and incite stigma. But when correctly presented, they have the potential to empower patient groups and dispel prejudice.
Latest information on the next Emergence Social Network event:
“This is to let you know the details of our next Arts and Social Network event on the 24th February.
We thought we’d try something different this month so will be attending a lunchtime piano recital by Natalia Williams-Wandoch in the St Martin-in-the-Field’s Pianists of the World Series. The programme will include compositions by Brahms and Debussy. The information for the concert states that Natalia is very keen to create programmes that are engaging and unforgettable, searching for ways to express her strong belief in the importance of music in our lives and its power to speak to everyone. Click here for further information – http://www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org/jserv/concerts/view.jsp?id=3932&command=concert.
Date: Friday 24th February
Place: St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ
Time: 1pm. The concert will last about 45 minutes after which we will go for coffee as usual.
Further information about the Arts and Social Network is appended below this message. Please contact us by email or telephone 020 8233 2854/5 to either let us know you would like to attend or if you have any queries. Hope to see you on the 24th.
All best wishes
Arts & Social Network Team
Office number: 0208 233 2854/5
Head Office Address
London House, 271-273 King Street
Hammersmith, London W6 9LZ”
I found Izzi’s blog on her mental health related art via her website, Juggle Glass (a blog dedicated to coping with mental illness at University). Both her Juggle Glass blog and her blog on art in mental health, Herself Image, are well worth a look through so please take a minute to do so.
Izzi has had ““severe and enduring” mental health problems since my teenage years”. She says “As well as studying I do art in my spare time so I have posted some of my artwork on my site. Sometimes its hard to say things in words and my art helps me communicate my feelings better sometimes.”
Here’s a message from Izzi regarding her two websites…
“Hi there everyone.
Since I do so much art, too much to fit on my mental health art page here, I have started a separate photoblog for all my mental health artwork and photography. It will take a little while to upload all of my artwork so please be patient with me but please come on over and see what you think. The blog is called HerSelf Image. I hope you like it.
Lots of Love
A selection of Izzi’s work…
(Taken from BBC Inside Out> East.)
“Mental health patient Steve Austin finds that painting provides a creative outlet for his mind. Steve’s work is the one thing that keeps him going when he starts feeling down.”
Okay, so here is the first piece of writing we have ever published on the site. We recently received this work, ‘Beast’, from DeLune who describes herself as “an NHS service nutter who writes”.
I would love to receive a submission for an illustration to go along with this piece of writing. If you are reading and want to give it a go, please, please do!
Here it comes, like a ghost train shrieking on the same silver tracks.
Here it comes, a furious risen corpse; all clawed pale hands and wailing screams.
Here it comes, moon-chewing crypt dweller; hunger-carved into bones and sinew.
The Beast is here. I feel it itch between my bones, I feel it spark like pagan fires, I watch it paint my loved one’s face with fear.
It eats my sleep, it jerks my limbs. I convulse, mouth taut in a silent shout that would shatter the window if given voice.
I crouch, spin, twitch, cower, shake and shiver. I gaze unseeing, I hold my voice in. I must be reminded if I am to eat.
I am busy, can’t you see? Chasing stars – faster and faster, I will open my beast’s mouth and suck them all down.
‘I’m terribly sorry I’m sure that your conversation is endlessly fascinating but werewolves are breeding beneath my skin and I have to go.”
I burn. I burn. Vampire in sunlight, demon in exorcism, witch in Inquisition pyre, I burn. Something swarms my mind like bees; I call it Starvation. I call it Thirst.
Spinning in circles, arms flung out, round and round until my feet drill down to the cool, the calm, the silence; a long way under the skin.
A wounding imp, it threatens to take everything unless I guess it’s name. But I am clever;
I am forged from faerie stories and night wanderings
– shame and grief and demolishing rage, that’s what this little girl is made of –
And I guess it’s name, I call it madness, and my magic sword,
My wood-cutter’s axe,
Is shaped like a pill.
You’re likely to have heard of Kim Noble before due to some good press coverage of her amazing work. I will leave the bio up to the good people from her website, please read it below. I have lifted all of the images and text from www.kimnoble.com so all credit must go to them.
Kim’s next Exhibition: “One of Many”, 9th November – 2nd December 2011, Bethlem Gallery, Beckenham, Kent
Painting by Bonny
“Kim Noble is a woman who, from the age of 14 years, spent 20 years in and out of hospital until she made contact with Dr Valerie Sinason and Dr Rob Hale at the Tavistock and Portman Clinics. In 1995 she began therapy and was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (originally named multiple personality disorder).
Painting by Bonny
D.I.D is a creative way to cope with unbearable pain. The main personality splits into several parts with dissociative or amnesic barriers between them. It used to be a controversial disorder but Kim has had extensive tests over 2 years by leading psychology professor at UCL, John Morton, who has established there is no memory between the personalities and that she has the misfortune of representing the British gold standard over genuine dissociation.
Kim has 20 main personalities, many fragments and 14 of the main personalities are artists. Having no formal art training, 14 of the main alters became interested in painting in 2004 after spending a short time with an art therapist. These 14 artists each have their own distinctive style, colours and themes, ranging from solitary deserts, sea scenes and abstracts to collages and paintings with traumatic content. Many alters are unaware that they share a body with other artists.
Painting by Ria Pratt
What is remarkable to all is both the quality of their work and the speed of their progress. Within five years of starting to paint they have already had seventeen successful solo exhibitions and participated in an equal number of group exhibitions. Kim was also the first Artist in Residence at Springfield University Hospital in Tooting, South West London.
Kim now has a 14 year old daughter and is a vivacious woman with a wonderful sense of humour and great courage and commitment.”
Painting by ‘Others’
On one of my internet scours I came across an interesting meditation on Bipolar artists and the role of medication by Carrie McGath. In her article she “studies the role of psychoanalysis in art through several different, little prisms”, such as poetry, photomontage and prose. Later in the year she goes on to write another interesting article on being an unmedicated artist with views from the patient and therapist. Please do take time to read both articles, which feature some lovely photomontage work from McGath. Also check out her website which features her publications as a poet (bio below).
Carrie’s poetry can be read online at her website, www.carriemcgath.com.
Here is a bio from her website…
“Carrie’s first collection of poems, Small Murders, was released in 2006 from New Issues Poetry and Prose. Ward-Eighty-One and The Chase are her self-published, limited-edition collections released in 2008 and 2009, respectively.
Her newest self-published chapbook, So Sorry to See You Go, is available right here, right now. The poems are inspired by Carrie’s thesis research at the Newberry Library about the presence of the circus in the Midwest. Carrie currently lives in Chicago and is an art writer for Chicago Art Magazine.”
Inferno is a service user with Bipolar. She is taking medication, Lamictal and Clonazepam. It might seem a bit strange to add this but I think it’s relevant and important. Inferno is female, 35 years old and a potter by trade. She also takes part in creating other works of art, like this wonderful drawing. Inferno has signed up to the Mental Spaghetti forum as she, like me, is keen to build a community of creative service users.
“I am a 35 year old female, who just happens to be Bipolar, and an artist. I am a potter/sculptor by trade, and a dabbler at anything else that requires art supplies of any sort. Art is therapy, a pass-time, and an instinctual, absolute NEED to me. I simply must be creating something most of the time. I have been “officially” Bipolar for 5 years now. Although I know I have been most of my life. Art has been my saviour. I urge anyone, artistic or not, to try art therapy. Let those art supplies fly, you will be surprised how good it feels!”
Inferno’s website ‘The Demons Within: Being a Bipolar Artist‘. Please take a look.
It’s been a peach of a week for submissions. First we met Hendrick Pinkle, and now, for your delectation, here’s Daj Mirage. Daj is a mental health sevice-user who has been an inpatient and uses art to communicate his experiences.
You can find more of his work and thinking at his blog, ‘Not Always So’.
The image below is titled ‘A is for Acute’, and here are some words from Daj…
“First of a series that’s based on my own experience. I’m trying to capture the real sense of distress that can accompany any mental health service user.”
Hendrick Pinkle and is from Baltimore in the USA. Hendrick has Bipolar disorder and PTSD. Despite feeling “sick and having a hard time getting about” Hendrick likes to make things, art, in the form of paintings, drawings, photographs. Please do check out Hendrick’s awesome website and you’ve seen the paintings below.
Artists involved with Emergence have had a new piece of 3D artwork unveiled, it sounds really great. Would love it if all of you dear readers would go and check it out. Press release below…
taken from the Emergence website
“Friday, 13 May 2011, 17:30 – 20:00
Launch of the Workshop 24 Collaboration – please see previous story for background: http://www.emergenceplus.org.uk/news-from-emergence/230-exciting-artist-in-residence-opportunity-act-now.html
As part of the Peel Precinct Workshop 24 project, Brent Arts Therapies Service, and South Kilburn Public Art programme commissioned a project to benefit members of the community who experience mental health problems.
In partnership with Emergence, they commissioned an artist who identifies with personality disorder to create a new piece of permanent 3D artwork (3D relief panel) in collaboration with South Kilburn residents who themselves experience mental health issues.
The launch of the artwork is in May 2011.
Location : Salvation Army, 55 Chichester Road, London NW6 5QW
Contact : Noelle Lavall on 07903 434 703 or Jorge Camarena on 0208 438 1740
Hello dear readers. I’m extra excited about today’s entry as I have been nagging this contributor to send me work for a while, I had only seen one piece and I knew it was going to be great. I’m also biased because I’m an illustrator as well as an artist so to see some drawing come our way was very good. In my drawing I always try to remember to add something interesting and challenging, and although I don’t always remember to use this trick, I’m a great fan of distorted angles and points of view, something that Lis has employed in the third picture down. She has also used colour in an interesting way.
Here are some words and pictures from Lis to you…
“I’m Lis, 26 years old and have bipolar disorder.
I find illustrating is an outlet for me, even if the finished work ends up in the bin!
I draw from life and photography, but always draw people. People have always fascinated me. I love sketching faces. Different expressions, poses, individuality. Ask me to draw a landscape and I will look at you like you have gone mad!
Most of my work has been done whilst in an ‘up’ mood, I rarely draw whilst stable or depressed. Due to that I have a bit of a love hate relationship with art, I’ll feel compelled to create something yet will hate sitting still for too long in order to create it, hence all my work is done in a hurry.”
“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.
All text and video taken from http://www.atwb.org/.
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.
The other day I stumbled across an extensive archive of work by mental health service users in the form of Breakthrough: Art in mental health. I got in touch with them straight away to say how much I admire what they are doing and I hope they wouldn’t mind me linking to some of their images. I’ve not heard anything back yet, however I have found out that linking to their images doesn’t work (because of some internets dark arts code that I do not understand) so all I can do is ask you to please go and visit their website, and search through all the galleries, read their blog and especially read their National Strategy Group page.
Here are some quick links to their galleries, split into Northern, Midlands and Southern UK artists.