Event: Late Spectacular at William Morris Gallery

What: Late night participatory arts event.
When: Thursday 13th October, 2016.
Where: William Morris Gallery

Mental Spaghetti is really excited to be part of the Daily Life Ltd takeover of William Morris Gallery, Thursday 13th October, 2016.

Mental Spaghetti founder, Marie-Louise Plum, will be one of seven artists involved in the event, leading Diagnostic Expeditionary Tours of the gallery itself.

More information…

For one night only Daily Life Ltd will be taking over the William Morris Gallery Late to present

Thursday 13th October 2016
6:30 – 10:30pm,
Free Entry
William Morris Gallery, E17 4PP

Join Bobby Baker and fellow artists in their epic quest to diagnose the William Morris Gallery!

This event is a combination of performance, music, poetry and participatory art. ROVING DIAGNOSTIC UNIT aims to widen cultural participation whilst inspiring conversations about mental health.

 

Artists Marie Louise Plum, Sara Haq and Kate Rolison will lead Diagnostic Expeditionary Tours of the gallery, using routine psychiatric methods to ask questions:

Marie Louise Plum is a multidisciplinary artist. She draws, paint, collage and collect, sculpt, make objects, installations, and present engaging art performances. Marie is the founder of arts organisation, Mental Spaghetti, supporting and developing art from the margins, working with individuals at risk of social exclusion.

Sara Haq is an artist, photographer and creative workshop facilitator, based in London, UK. Her work always reflective of personal experience and often explores intercultural relationships and the interactions between art and social change.

Kate Rolison is also known by her internet alias Poesie Grenadine; a broken French phrase which roughly translates as purple prose. A firm believer in Craftivism (the art of craft and activism), she explores mental health activism and feminism through workshops and in her own practice.

 

In collaboration with interactive theatre-makers Coney will be the Emotion Police Emancipation Programme:

Rhiannon Armstrong makes engaging artworks for and with those who do not necessarily think of themselves as art audiences, under the lifelong series title Instructions for Empathetic Living. Rhiannon is an associate artist of Coney, whose technology she is using for her work with the Roving Diagnostic Unit.

 

Renowned poet Sean Burn plays with words and ideas around mental health, using language to open up the subject and challenge ownership of narratives:

“Hi, Sean Burn, here. I play with words, sometimes conventionally & sometimes un, believing we first owned our voices before they were mostly stolen, languages our first battlefield.   Now I write/perform/make outsider art. I have an international reputation, active involvement in disability arts, nationally, and am part of Mad Studies North-East.”

 

Participate in a workshop where you make personalised ‘power pants’ to help you deal with the challenges of everyday life:

Mistry’s practice explores inventive approaches and methodologies in the making of performance, live works and social practices. Her movement practice is focused on making experimental enquiries about being in process with the body and unpredictable choreographies.

 

Music comes from singer songwriter Dylan Tighe who, throughout the evening, performs segments from his first and second albums:

Dublin singer/songwriter, performer and theatre-maker. Dylan, was described by the Irish Times as “framing reflective music with remarkable eloquence” His radio-drama for RTÉ ‘Wabi-Sabi Soul’, inspired by his own experience of psychiatric diagnosis, was nominated for the Prix Europa radio prize.

 

Artist and performer Selina Thompson brings her inimitable style to host the infamous Daily Life Ltd Cure All Karaoke:

Selina Thompson is an artist and performer based in Birmingham. Her work is playful, participatory and intimate, focused on the politics of identity, and how this defines our bodies, lives and environments.

 

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Art Opportunity: Tight Modern 2016

What: Tight Modern 2016 exhibition
When: Deadline is 30th October 2016
Where: Touring Exhibition

“We are delighted to announce Tight Modern 2016 is open for submissions from marginalised & disabled artists.

Tight Modern is tight! Entries must be 13cmx18cm in portrait format, with a maximum depth of 2cm. You can submit original artworks, photography or computer generated images.

The competition is open until 30th October 2016.

Our brand new website is also being launched alongside the competition; for details about how to submit work, our numerous prizes, upcoming free workshops and more go to www.tightmodern.org.uk.

A pdf of the A4 poster for can be found here.

For information on how to submit to the Tight Modern, and details of our fantastic prizes and the accompanying free workshops, go to our brand new website: www.tightmodern.org.uk.”

Exhibition: What Goes On In the Mind

What: Exhibition, ‘What Goes On In the Mind’
When: June 4th – July 4th, Reception Drinks June 11, 2-4pm
Where: Oxford Town Hall Gallery, St. Aldate’s, OX1 1BX

Opening Drinks Reception, this Saturday, June 11th, 2-4pm. All welcome! Facebook Event Page

Arts organisations AIMS (Oxford) and Mental Spaghetti (London) are exhibiting work from 18 artists, 9 from London and 9 from Oxford, both emerging and established, all with lived experience of mental health and/or physical disabilities.

Work ranges from painting, illustration, textile and sculpture, and will give an invaluable insight into the relationship between art, health and wellbeing as communication whilst navigating through life.

All our artists have incredible life stories and will be sharing intimate accounts of experiences and emotions that many of us have experienced but have been reluctant to share.

Expect dream-like worlds, fond memories, autobiographical fantasy realms and the cataloguing of experience.


Artwork by Jason Randall

In addition to finished pieces, there will be sketchbooks, notations and illustrated diaries on display, offering an illuminating view of the creative journey from ideas to finished pieces.

Artists are showing new, never exhibited, pieces and existing work. This exhibition is also chance to see work from previous collections that have not been exhibited in years.

The exhibition runs from Saturday 4th June until Tuesday 4th July. A drinks reception will be held on Saturday 11th June, from 2-4pm, with a chance to meet and talk to the artists involved.

Full list of exhibiting artists:

AIMS artists
Terrentius Andersohn, Dennis Day, Augus Davidge, Alistair Franklin, Yvonne Mabs Francis, Jason Randall, Luna Rain, Anthony Tozer, Sarah Warren.

Mental Spaghetti Artists
Tim Bradford, Emma Duggan, Terence Wilde, Laura Greenway, John Moore, Li Williams, Mikey Georgeson, Marie-Louise Plum, Jan Arden.

Mental Spaghetti contact: email / @mentalspaghetti / http://www.mentalspaghetti.org
AIMS contact: email

What Goes On In the Mind
The Gallery
Oxford Town Hall
St Aldate’s
Oxford
OX1 1BX

Opening times: Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm

Robin Williams: Bigger than Life

On the eve of the first anniversary of Robin Williams’ death, we’d like to share this essay, written and submitted to us by the disability artist David Feingold, to shed some light on what it is like to live with bipolar disorder. Although Robin Williams had never stated himself that he suffered from any mental illhealth, it has long been speculated that he had been suffering from bipolar disorder. We would like to make it clear that we are not practising armchair psychologists, or wish to diagnose anyone. In the light of speculation, which has encouraged many people to speak out about their own experiences, or reflect on whether Robin Williams may have had similar experiences, we’re happy to share this article with you all.

We have exhibited David’s work recently, at our Mental Spaghetti exhibition at Studio 3 Arts. You can see more of his work here.

All artwork © David Feingold, 2015

Robin Williams may have been bigger than life on and off the stage and screen, but in the end a mere speck in the battle of an illness that dwarfed his fame, fortune, family and friends.

“Many of us ask how someone who presented himself as happy, vibrant and creative as Robin Williams could pull the rug out from the entire world. He fooled us. He took us by surprise. He disappointed us. He let us down.

Williams was our unofficial patron saint of happiness and hope. He was a beacon of light in our darkness of boredom, despair and mediocrity. He made us laugh, leave our troubles behind and give us the possibility that life could be better than it is.

Other articles I’ve read focus on the life of Robin Williams—his substance and alcohol abuse, his many accomplishments and heightened status in the world of nobodies. There is no reason to go into these things once again. We need something more informative. We need something substantial. We need something left behind by this genius of comedy and ultimately a slave to despair.

I have a masters in social work and a doctorate in disability studies, but this piece is not written in jargon or academic hyperbole. It is written for all of us, no matter our education, IQ score or bank account. The only prerequisite for getting something out of this essay is a beating heart and an open mind. It is simple, profound in its directness and educational. It will show that there was something other than Robin Williams’ will at play in ending his life. As you will see, it goes much deeper than that.

The following is my own experience with bipolar disorder, taken directly from my dissertation on the subject. Hopefully it will give you some closure to Robin’s death and satisfy your desire to know ‘why’.


‘Hitting Rock Bottom’

Hitting rock bottom

One of the worst things about having bipolar disorder is hitting rock bottom in a major depressed state. Ever wonder what happens to a body when it falls to the ground from a skyscraper? Well, the physical result of that fall is equivalent to the way you feel when you hit rock bottom in a bipolar depressed state. There is as much emotional life in that depressed state as there is physical life in an abrupt 60 story landing on pavement.

You are empty, void and nowhere to be found. There’s just a vacuum of a life you used to have, a name you used to claim, a person you used to know, now depleted of everything you used to be and have, like planets, stars and light itself being suck into a black hole in an abandoned, endless universe. This condition is usually referred to as an illness or a disorder. That’s like calling WWII a spat or the Holocaust bullying.

Manic depression, as it used to be called, can be a monster. All the horror stories you used to know as a child combined into one entity that lives inside you. I takes over…in the form of emptiness. All that’s left is the smoldering.


‘Mania’

Mania

Ah, mania, sweet mania. It is a major high than cannot be measured by ordinary means. Why? Because it is the opposite of its evil twin, depression. How do you describe the opposite of total, personal emptiness? How do you explain the feeling that was previously dark and void and totally emotionally painful, is now incredibly freeing with limitless happiness, confidence, creativity, and the amount of energy equivalent two ten pots of espresso? Now, just like its opposite, depression, mania can last hours, days or weeks. Days without sleep and days filled with doing things you likely would have never done, had you not been ‘blessed’ with the presence of bipolar disorder.

Typical behaviour and vices associated with manic phases of bipolar disorder are pressured speech, feelings of grandeur, overly confident, belief in one’s ability to accomplish things that otherwise would seem unrealistic, extreme impulsivity, irritability, verbal aggressiveness, sudden obsessive interest and immersion in religion and spirituality, social inappropriateness, and denial of one’s own malfunctioning behaviour.

By the way, my visual interpretation of mania is pictured above. It’s how I feel when I manage to escape the black hole of depression, just anticipating making up for lost time.


‘So What If I’m Bipolar, I’m Just Like Everyone Else’

So what if I’m bipolar, I’m just like everyone else!

The title of this section may be the name of my art piece above, but it certainly isn’t my actual belief. There is something disconcerting about having a mental illness and feeling different than anyone else, but there is something even more disconcerting about pretending or living in denial about not being like everyone else. The word, “phoney” comes to mind, as well as identity confusion. When I’m manic, I feel how the picture above looks — different. There’s no confusing this for a regular looking person or a manic person for a regular acting person.

What is bipolar disorder, anyway? You hear about it on TV and radio reports of some deranged shooter that had it, you read about it in the newspapers and magazines as part of a special interest stories. and you hear anecdotes about students and parents who have it by teachers in the staff lounge. Quite simply, bipolar disorder is considered to be a biological disease in which there are abnormal mood shifts of elevated and depressed moods, caused by alterations in brain chemistry.

Bipolar disorder is a treatable illness, which can be controlled by medication. I have already described the major symptoms of bipolar disorder from my own direct experience with the illness, so I won’t repeat that here. Instead, I’d like to present the different episodes of bipolar disorder. In addition to the depressive and manic episodes, there is the mixed episode.

Bipolar patterns present themselves different ways to different people. For example, without medication, initially infrequent episodes can increase to more frequent occurrences. Seasons of the year can ind some people becoming more manic in the spring and more depressed in winter. Individuals with rapid cycling can experience such mixed episodes continuously all year long. The episodes can also last anywhere from days to months, to years. Some with bipolar disorder can go years without symptoms, while others can have continual or frequent mild mood swings. It is important to seek a diagnosis as soon as possible, should you suspect you might be having bipolar symptoms.

The reason for doing so is to best avoid the fallout of having bipolar disorder, which includes suicide, alcohol and substance abuse, problems with one’s marriage and work, and the illness is harder to treat over time without early intervention. Bipolar disorder is found to be either genetically inherited or brought about by a problem with brain chemistry that triggers the bipolar disorder through stress, lack of sleep, substance use and different life events.

Medication, education and psychotherapy helping one deal with the illness has been found to be the most effective way of treating the disorder. For additional information, check out the Depression and Bipolar Alliance: www.dbsalliance.org.


‘Can’t See Past My Depression’

Can’t See Past My Depression

This is as true today as it was 10 years ago when I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder. You can’t see past it because you can’t see, period. Everything is murky, muddled and blanketed in darkness. Every once in a while there is a momentary sliver of light to ‘see’ your pain, but not beyond it. You can’t see out and it’s nearly impossible for others to reach in. I know they are there, trying to make contact with me, but I may as well be light years away. It is that futile. Without an emotional tether or human connection, we’re like a lost asteroid out of orbit and on its way to nowhere.

Depression is a lonely place. If it was located on a map, it would be on the edge, in the margin, outside of anything on this Earth. Medication is like cut and paste on a word processing application. It can take you off the margin and put you on the map. Where on the map is not known straightaway. You might find yourself on a floating iceberg, wearing nothing but a scarf, in a tropical rainforest, without as much as insect repellent, or at the bottom of the ocean, near a fault spewing steaming hot lava. At least you’re somewhere. But for how long?


‘Robin’

Robin’s Dark Cloud

Robin’s abilities were extremely unique and held sway in both the world of acting and comedy. In light of his success and professional prowess, how hopeless was Williams’ world that he would enter that eternal darkness and never look back? Hopefully, I have given you a glimpse of what Robin could no longer endure and why he chose no longer to remain. It was the dark cloud that covered him and rained on his reign.”

This essay, complete with David’s accompanying artwork, is available to download here.

A huge ‘thank you’ from Barking!

A HUGE thank you to everyone who came down to our private view for the Mental Spaghetti group show in Barking last Friday, and to our ever-helpful and accommodating hosts, Studio 3 Arts.

An especially big thank you and congratulations goes to our featured artists!

The exhibition continues until Friday 24th July, so we aren’t putting all the photos online yet. Here are a few sneaky peeks for you!


We had a steady turn-out of folks over the evening, despite being situated off the beaten track, who all thoroughly enjoyed viewing the work by Lazz Ozerden, Jan Arden, David Feingold, Marie-Louise Plum and Faye Scott-Farrington. The sun was out, the garden was glorious and drinks were flowing. Oh, and Chipsticks. Essential!

A few snaps from the evening…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and a digital postcard from Barking itself…


Hope to see you here before we head for pastures new in August!

❤ Mental Spaghetti

Mental Spaghetti Roadshow: PRIVATE VIEW – all welcome!

What: Exhibition – private view
Where: Studio 3 Arts, Boundary Road, Barking, IG11 7JR. Tel: 020 8594 7136
When: Friday 10th July, 5:30-9:30pm

Good morning all!

We’re having a private view of our group show, in support of the art workshop residency at Studio 3 Arts in Barking, and you’re invited!

Jan Arden, David Feingold, Lazz Ozerden and Marie-Louise Plum are showing 2D visual art for your delectation. There really is a lot of special artwork on show, in particular a massive wedge of never-seen-before acrylic on canvas from Lazz, and four of Jan Arden’s magnificently detailed, large-scale pen drawings.

The private view is a chance for you to come and see the exhibition out of daily hours, by appointment, in a way. You can meet the folks from Mental Spaghetti, and I’m sure the artists will also be mingling. We’ll have snacks and drinks, both alcoholic and non, of course.

As mentioned, this private view is for the accompanying exhibition to our current residency of workshops at Studio 3 Arts – creative writing and drawing, woodcut relief printmaking and plaster sculpture. Tickets are free and available here.

Any questions, email us. Hope to see y’all there!

Exhibiting artists: Jan Arden | David Feingold | Lazz Ozerden | Marie-Louise Plum

Mental Spaghetti Roadshow at Studio 3 Arts, Barking, London.

What: Workshops and exhibition
Where: Studio 3 Arts, Boundary Road, Barking, IG11 7JR. Tel: 020 8594 7136
When: See workshop information, below.

We’re hitting the road again, Jack, and this time we’re in Barking, East London, at the bloody marvellous community arts hub, Studio 3 Arts!

From Monday 6 July until Friday 24 July 2015 we present to you, dear readers, a series of creative arts workshops and a three week exhibition featuring the work of Jan Arden, Marie-Louise Plum, Lazz Ozerden and David Feingold.

WORKSHOP INFORMATION

Our first week sees poet and comedian, John Hegley, leading a creative writing and drawing workshop – different from the one we just put on at Kentish Town Health centre, although, those of you who attended that workshop may very well want to come to this one too. The workshops run from 1-4pm on Tuesday 7 July, and 10am-1pm on Thursday 9 July, with a one hour plaster casting session before the creative writing and drawing starts. If you do not want to come to the future plaster workshop, you are welcome to arrive at 2pm and 11am respectively.
Free tickets here: Tuesday session / Thursday session.

Creative writing and drawing workshop

Week two is printmaking week, with Sue Royle.
Sue has been a Foundation Art lecturer, professional printmaker and painter for many years, having also had a successful career in illustration. Following on from what you have learnt and produced with John Hegley, we will focus on themes already explored and produce small woodcut relief prints with oil based ink. This session runs from 2-5pm.
Free tickets here: Tuesday session / Thursday session.

Plaster casting in a workshop

In the third week you will be working under the guidance of our lead artist, Marie-Louise Plum. In response to the prints you have made with Sue Royle, we will carve into, burnish and decorate plaster of paris sculpture forms. Please note, we will be casting these forms in the first hour of the John Hegley workshop in week one. This session runs from 2-5pm.
Free tickets here: Tuesday session / Thursday session.

A quick note to bear in mind about the workshops – we are doing two of the same workshop per week, a repetition, not an extension of the first in the week. By all means, if you’d like to come to all six workshops, please do, but we will be doing the same activity in the second workshop of the week. If you are keen to make as much work as you can, then you are welcome to come to both, or if you would like to continue developing the skills you learnt in the first.

We must stress, you will likely have some extra attention while the class is working away, perhaps learn a new technique or two, but you will be expected to carry on your work from the first workshop while the others in the group, who have not yet done the activity, will be learning what you have already done. Okay? Good!

The outcome of attending all three (or six, if you so wish) workshops is a small body of portfolio standard work which you will be able to add to your existing portfolio, or put towards creating one. We will do a follow-up workshop where you can photograph and mount your work, assisted by Marie-Louise Plum. You will be able to photograph all your work, and take your creations home with you.

All workshops are free of charge, limited to ten people per workshop. We have kept the numbers smaller this time so we can give each person more one-to-one attention in the workshops.

If you would like to download the PDF press release with all the information of the exhibition and workshops, click here.

EXHIBITION INFORMATION

Our Barking exhibition features work from Jan Arden, Marie-Louise Plum, Lazz Ozerden and David Feingold. Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 09:30-17:30
Private View: Friday 10th July, 6-9pm – all welcome.

‘Wrestling with the Bull’, Jan Arden

Jan Arden: Jan will be exhibiting large scale detailed shamanistic drawings, combining Celtic knot-work with African faces and south American Shamanistic Aztec priests,  peoples, animals, symbols and shapes. He creates what he sees on the paper after moving the Biro in dance-like movements, eyes closed and reaching into the subconscious for inspiration and guidance. With no formal training Jan considers himself an Outsider Artist, unbridled and free to express all that he needs through the medium of his artistic talent. Jan was born in Dublin, Ireland, of mixed Irish Dominican parentage and weaves together the cultural style and artistic influences of his heritage.

’12 Months’, Marie-Louise Plum

Marie-Louise Plum: Marie will be exhibiting a variety of drawing, paint and collage, and her collection of illustrated masks, all focusing on themes of collecting, preservation, letting go, memory, mental states, sense of self and identity. Marie-Louise is a multidisciplinary artist whose work takes shape as long-term, thoroughly documented research projects which more often than not follow themes of social alienation, personal boundaries, subversion, ambiguity and mortality. Marie does this through the medium of drawing, painting, collage and collecting. She also builds and makes objects and site-specific, interactive installations.

‘Heaven Running Down to Hell’, Lazz Ozerden

Lazz Ozerden: Lazz will be exhibiting his acrylic paintings on canvas, “a place to scream into, just like into a night sky, the lover to make love with, the runaway place, the shadow in the dark that brings me light and makes me free.” He “paints mainly to get rid of my demons or dream about ‘The Women’.”

‘Seeing the Light’, David Feingold

David Feingold: David, a ‘visual designer’, will be exhibiting his digital collages. He has found a way to turn pain into pictures and anguish into art – which he calls Disability Art – in the form of digital visual assemblages. “My art is inseparable from my visceral experience of life with bipolar disorder, seizure disorder and ADHD, stemming from a pedestrian car accident. Fortunately, I was the pedestrian, not the driver. The driver has likely amassed his/her fair share of bad karma for leaving the scene of the accident—and me, unconscious. In a world made personal through the lens of my impairments, I have found a way to communicate my innermost feelings about the self behind the impairments; the self behind the cognitive and emotional deficits; the self behind the sometimes disparaged social persona. My art exposes and expresses not only my vulnerabilities, but my defiance in succumbing to the slippery slope of despair. Thus, nested in my disability remains my strongest ability — hope.