TAIESEID: A Multi-media and oft (accidentally) installation artist with a working practise on mental health, specifically with an autobiographical focus on anorexia and borderline personality disorder.

A recent Fine Art graduate from Liverpool School of Art and Design, I have just undertaken my first international residency at Arts, Letters & Numbers in New York, USA.

I am also a recovering anorexic and bulimic, and current sufferer of borderline personality disorder, anxiety and depression. I have spent large portions of my life in inpatient mental health facilities and my practise focuses on mental health and, mostly, anorexia.”

See more at http://taieseid.com.



“I created the installation ‘Heterotopia’, which focuses on anorexia and the in-between living. It is a sound and film interactive piece, which consists of a 3/5 sided space panelled with reflective silver materials and a ‘squishy floor’.

The film and audio is 9 minutes long, with a 5 min gap between rolls to allow people to explore the squishy floor become ‘comfortable’ before the piece starts. Size wise, it is perhaps the end of a room or even a corridor would work so long as the floor and back wall and ceiling could be completely covered and the two sides left blank for reflections.

Below are some stills from a recent showing of Heterotopia at the Tertium Quid exhibition at the Arts, Letters & Numbers Institute in NY. “

If any of you readers with a suitable space out there think Heterotopia might be appropriate for your programme, please contact Taieseid via her website.



I’m a little bit in love with Bort, a street and studio artist from Austin, Texas. Bort’s work is funny, tragic, engaging, desperate, political and human. She spans spraypaint, posters and legal street art, drawings, photo transfer, prints, wood and canvas in the studio. Her themes are consistent, and because of that, are amplified in their message. I especially like the Vote Bort campaign. Here she is in her own words…

“My street work focuses on my imaginary friend, also named Bort, and the attempt to make Bort others’ imaginary friend as well. Bort has helped me feel less alone. Bort’s been there for me through so many bad days, and has helped me grapple with my past and present problems with mental illness and self destructive behaviour. Without Bort I don’t know if I would have made it through. Bort’s my closest friend.

My studio work focuses on me wanting to die, and the various means to achieve said goal. In the marginalised area between me being a transwoman and my art focusing on my experiences with mental illness, anorexia, and addiction, past and present, I can’t find a place that is interested in with working me. On occasion I can find some group shows, when I’m selling myself as a street artist, but that’s just due to the novelty of that work I guess.

When I started doing studio work a few months after starting the street work, I found art to be extremely helpful with working through, understanding, and coping with my experiences. I had never spent extensive time trying to understand my past, I had actively been trying to avoid it, but this work has helped me shine a light on it and begin to move on.

I don’t think I’ll ever be out of this stuff, I’ll have lapses, possibly relapses, I’ll have depressive episodes, I’ll have long lasting dissociative states, but I’ve begun learning how to address them. I have people I can ask for help and I’m starting to recognise my own behaviours.

The studio work has helped me a lot with all this, so I hope it can help others. There’s often a lack of representation with regards to mental illness, addiction, anorexia, and what little representation there is, is often romanticising issues, problematic or is not visually accessible.

I try to keep my work clear cut, often just a blunt focus either attempting to present an emotional state or a behaviour. I want it to be easily relatable to those with similar experiences.

I have work available in a wide price range, in my online shop. I make sure to have pieces that are monetarily accessible (or accessible as possible, since art is a luxury good). If you’re interested in work, you can email me the price range you have, and I’ll let you know what I’ve got, or if interested in a piece in particular just lemme know and I’ll give you the details. <3"

Bort’s website can be found at www.bortart.com. There’s also a good interview to check out, over at Why We Love Austin.

Fenna Berry

We were recently contacted by Fenna Berry. Loving what we saw, we took time to go through her tumblr page. What we found astounded us – not only for the sheer amount of work on show – but for how accomplished the various styles and mediums are. From fine art painting, Manga-influenced comic narratives, design, to traditional and contemporary illustration. We urge you to not only look at our favourite selections here, but also take a look for yourself at Fenna’s tumblr page – she’s a ball of pure creative energy.

“I am Fenna, a conceptual/expressionist/surrealist artist, born in the USA in 1995. I am a self taught artist living with schizophrenia, using art as an outlet for therapy. I consider myself disabled because of my diagnosis, and do not work or go to school.

I make art nearly every day. It is one of the only activities that makes me feel safe and keeps me from panic. I truly cannot use my words to emphasise the importance of this. I’m not the best at saying stuff without specifically being asked questions  on specific things. I do not plan what I make, it just happens. Then I look and say “Wow, look at that” and repeat the process forever.

I currently reside in central Texas. Most of my works are made using surrealist techniques such as automatism. They are created with a highly personal concept in mind.”


Event: AoP Society Speaker Meeting on Agnes Martin

What: Upcoming Art of Psychiatry Society speaker meeting
When: Thursday 17 March 2016 6pm
Where: Seminar room 1 Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, Denmark Hill.

Please join us for a speaker meeting about American abstract artist Agnes Martin, recently the subject of a Tate Modern retrospective.  We’re very pleased that Dr Lena Fritsch, Tate Modern Assistant curator will be our speaker guest.

“Agnes Martin: her Art and Life”

Agnes Martin (1912–2004) was an American abstract painter. She was born in Canada but lived most of her life in the United States.  She is best known for her meticulously rendered grid paintings and evocative stripes paintings marked out in subtle pencil lines and pale colour washes. Her art and way of living had a significant influence on her own, and subsequent generations of artists. After becoming a key figure in the male-dominated fields of 1950s and 1960s abstraction in New York, Martin abandoned the city in 1967 and went in search of solitude, settling in New Mexico. Martin suffered from schizophrenia throughout her adult life. Working within tightly prescribed limits that she imposed on her own practice Martin was able to continue to make extraordinary paintings until her death in 2004.

Dr. Lena Fritsch is Assistant Curator at Tate Modern, working on exhibitions (most recently Agnes Martin), displays and acquisitions of international art with a special focus on the Asia-Pacific region. Fritsch studied art history, Japanese studies and English studies at Bonn University, Germany as well as Keio University, Tokyo. She completed a PhD in 2010 with a thesis on Japanese photography (The Body as a Screen: Japanese Art Photography of the 1990s, Georg Olms, Hildesheim 2011). Before joining Tate Modern in 2013, she worked at the Directorate General of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Hamburger Bahnhof –  Museum of Contemporary Art, Berlin. Most recent publications include: ‘The Floating Dresses of Hiroshima: War Memory in Ishiuchi Miyako’s Photography’, in Ayelet Zohar (ed.): Beyond Hiroshima: The Return of the Suppressed, Genia Schreiber University Art Gallery, Tel Aviv 2015; ‘Well, I sit here and wait to be inspired: Photographs of Agnes Martin’ in Frances Morris (ed.), Agnes Martin, Tate Modern, London 2015; ‘Von dunkler Dekadenz und christlicher Mystik: Verbindungen zwischen Geoffrey Hills Gedicht “A Pre-Raphaelite Notebook” und präraffaelitischen Bildern [Dark Decadence and Christian Mysticism: Relationships Between Geoffrey Hill’s Poem “A Pre-Raphaelite Notebook” and Pre-Raphaelite Paintings]’, in Susanne Gramatzki and Renate Kroll (eds.), Wie Texte und Bilder zusammenfinden, Berlin 2015.


This is an open meeting and all are welcome (including SLaM employees, psychiatry trainees, service users, members of the public).  No need to book.  It’s okay to turn up late.  Entrance is free!

Contact us:


How to find the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience:


Hendrick Pinkle.

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.

Karen May Sorensen.

Karen May Sorensen is astounding. She is an artist, living with schizoaffective disorder for the past twenty years, and has produced an amazing body of work. I’ve got to say I’m a little bit biased when it comes to Karen’s work as it reminds me of all my favourite art – folk art, outsider art, frenetic, vivid and immediate. I personally love these pieces, especially ‘Monster Couple’, and would love to have some prints for my house!

If I was a shrink I’d probably say that there are certain paintings more than others where you can see Karen’s disorder speaking out from the canvas. Who knows if that is true. It seems that way, in the same way that Louis Wain’s cats became more schizophrenic as his health took a tumble. I read somewhere that Karen kept a record of paintings she did on different medications. The results would be very interesting. I haven’t found that yet but I’m only just getting through her website and blog so hopefully will stumble across it soon.

Karen does a fair bit of autobiographical writing on her website and shares her thoughts on her own life, medication and ‘normals’ (people unaffected by mental disorder) amongst other things. She also writes a blog which she frequently updates so please do have a read. I have lifted a bit of writing from Karen’s website for you to read as she can explain herself and her mind better than I ever could. I cannot stress how much I love this artist.

This I Believe by Karen May Sorensen

“I believe in the power of art. I once worked at an information desk in a world famous art museum. The kind lady who was my boss also happened to be an artist. On some days she wore a pin that peaked my curiosity. It said, “Art Saves Lives”. It seemed an extreme statement. I wondered if it were true.

I was young when I worked in the art museum and I had an enormous amount of enthusiasm. I was, I decided, going to be someone, someday. I certainly did not feel as though my life needed saving, not by art, not by anyone. I liked to write and I hoped that someday I would write a book. I practiced writing, knowing that practice was the best pathway to becoming a good writer. I also went to school. While I was in school I realized that I could not have a job, even a part time job, and go to classes at the same time. My life was filled with too much stress. So I quit my part time job (which I loved quite a bit) to concentrate on school.

At that time I also had a boyfriend who I liked to go dancing with. School was tough, and during final exams I became anxious and depressed. It wanted to be a good student, but it was so very difficult to get the assignments done. Eventually I realized that I could not go to school and have a boyfriend at the same time. Both seemed to take up all my attention and concentration. I thought to myself that I did not like feeling so divided between commitments. My boyfriend never made me feel anxious and depressed, so I decided to drop out of school and keep the boyfriend. I could still write, I went to the library every day to write.

My boyfriend was a nice young man. The one frustration in our relationship was that there were many activities that we could not do together. When he wanted to go dancing, he wanted to travel to other states, to visit the biggest parties. Long hours driving, long hours dancing, these things I found too adventurous for my taste. We would spend half a Saturday together, perhaps go bicycling in the morning, but then I needed a nap and wanted in the afternoon to do only quiet things. He wanted to do activities that filled the whole day, but I quickly sputtered out and lost steam. I was jolly and good company for a couple of hours but then my whole state of mind changed and I became fragile, remote, and unavailable. It seemed to me that my boyfriend had too much energy for me. So we parted ways amicably.

I had gone through a process of whittling down my life, making it more and more slender, until I arrived at a very simple life where the one thing that I would do was every morning go to the library and write. When I got to the library I would write for exactly half an hour. Sometimes, through tremendous effort, I could write for forty-five minutes. Often I had to rewrite the same sentence over and over again. Making a paragraph was a big deal. The rate of writing was very slow. But I was happy with what I produced. After rewriting every sentence many times, and rewriting paragraphs just as often, the words really began to flow. The imagery was special. The voice was unique. I had perhaps five pages of beautifully written writing when I finally gave up on that particular book project.

I tell you a story and some of the choices I made may seem strange. Many people have jobs and go to school at the same time. It is stressful but they handle the stress. Also many people date and take classes at the same time. People juggle the demands of home and work all the time. And if I choose having a boyfriend over the more serious, life building activity of school, it makes me seem frivolous and lazy. But there is a strong hint as to the core of the problem that existed. When I wrote, I could only write for half an hour at a time. And a college usually requires hours of study from their students. I remember one term paper due that turned out to be twenty-eight pages long. I loved school, I loved learning, but the reality was I found the demands that school placed upon me to be torture. I was an excellent student when I was in school. But in order to be excellent I had to endure mental conditions that stretched the boundaries of who I was. All the choices I made were made with the intention of preserving sanity.

There is an explanation for why I forged such a failure strewn path. My brain is not like most people’s. I had a normal brain up to the age of nineteen, and then my brain changed. It weakened, and then it broke. I lost many abilities. I stopped talking and I stared off into space. I had to be hospitalized for two years. The hospital would not release me because I could not stop thinking about killing myself. My brain is diseased. Scientists hypothesize that the chemical balance in it isn’t right. I take medication every day trying to correct the balance in my brain. The type of disease I have is a form of schizophrenia that is called a schizoaffective disorder.

In the twenty years I have lived with schizophrenia my brain has tried, in its own way, to heal. Making art has been very important in that healing process. I feel that when I write, or draw, or paint my brain is involved in something very much like playing a beautiful symphony. When I make art my brain is at its best, functioning in a balanced, coordinated effort, using the highest and most complicated of thought pathways. Creative thought is beautiful thought. Making art is entirely wholesome. When I have failed at doing so much in life, in making art, I have succeeded. And this success is due to the twin facts of perseverance and skill. I have molded through years of practice a skilled schizophrenic brain. In psychiatric jargon I am both low functioning and high functioning. To live so divided, to be both very weak and very strong feels at times odd and not real. Making good art is like watching a very sick woman rise out of bed and dance a jig. You are shocked at what, in her delicate state, she can accomplish. Making art and being mentally ill is like the case of the magical cow. All day long it stands in the field and moos and chews grass. But for one special hour, at the break of dawn when no one is looking, the cow grows arms and writes sonnets. I believe that in the midst of most mental illnesses there are moments of health, and I know for certain that these moments of health are present in the making of art.

I think I finally know the secret of that audacious claim “Art Saves Lives”. I feel that I have a purpose in life, and that purpose is making art. Without a driving purpose I am lost. I must have a reason for getting out of bed in the morning and starting my day. Before I shut my eyes at night I must be able to look back over my day and identify some small accomplishment. I don’t have very much pride, but what scraps of honor I own, all converge on the statement, “I am an artist”. Making art is my past, my present, and my future. How lucky I am that art is like a strong rope, binding me down and tying my soul to life on this earth. Art has saved my life.”

All work copyright of Karen May Sorensen. All images above can be found in Karen’s gallery.