Our guest artist this week is Myfanwy Dabner, from Ballarat, Australia. In this article, Myfanwy examines the ways in which she processes inspiration, the new directions and inspirations she is drawing on, as well as understanding the meaning of being a marginalised artist, and what connotations the term invokes.
“Over a month ago I was thinking about printmaking and mental illness, as a place to make art from, and to have a subject matter for Uni art school requirements.
As I do printmaking a lot and as I have mental illness permanently these were my easy and obvious choices; make prints about my mental illness.
Now after some investigation into Outsider Groups and their art forms I am looking at the art of children and the art of the mentally ill, whilst ditching a totally printmaking focus to allow art in more forms.
I go with the genres that catch me. I have gone to the art of my children, my brother and my own children’s art, my art made when ill, and just plain old improvisation and make do to make new works.
I will abstract, repeat, cute-i- fy, blacken, follow and break rules, stencil, and other endless ways to make art works. So far I have dabbled in jagged three-dimensional shapes with UV and fluorescent colours. Perhaps I will use invisible UV markers to write a hidden poem.
My work from 15 years ago was brightened with fluorescent pencils, and I have a returned desire to use them. I want to be informed from viewing the untrained, relaxed, strong, wild, gestural, naive marks of my children’s artworks. I need to loosen up.
The work I make is also influenced by mental availability, mindset, mood – the pain within, the love, the needing to form something. Generally speaking, high energy can cause some illness, it can’t always be maintained, eventually dropping into depression, getting a few weeks here and there for busy making.
In conclusion, my place to work from has not completely shifted from printmaking and mental illness but has grown to include the art of children, my children, as inspiration and that I may make art in a variety of forms.
I now also understand the term Outsider Art and the meaning of marginalisation. I am putting myself forward as acceptable with illness. Will I be only seen for my illness and thus marginalised? I don’t know yet. I do know though I am substantiating the art of the mentally ill by proposing it to my teachers as an acceptable area to draw from in art practice.
I am also putting forward the techniques of children’s art as acceptable techniques for making in art. Please enjoy the pictures, including monotypes, improvised work and art by my children.”
Visit the website site Narrator International to search and find some of Myfanwy’s short stories and poetry.