I have always had a passion for being creative, and I have found art to be an extremely beneficial form of self-expression. I started to use my artwork to this effect when I did A Level art & design aged 16; at this point, it became a vital way of conveying how I felt and what I was going through, especially when I found it so difficult to explain myself in any other way. I went on to study BA Fine Art at Winchester School of Art, and it was here that I really developed my skills and personal style. During my time at university I was given the diagnosis of ‘borderline personality disorder’, to add to an already-too-long list (including a mood disorder, OCD, anxiety, and anorexia)! It has been essential for me to use my imagination and art to help me to process and cope with my mental health issues.
Although much of my work could be considered quite dark and often rather disturbing, I also frequently employ a sense of humour within my art; when everything can be so serious, I find that comical side of things of the utmost importance in keeping me going! As a consequence, the nature of my work is often paradoxical: it means that people are sometimes unsure of how they should react to the work… do you laugh or keep a straight face? Two of my favourite artists - Bobby Baker and David Shrigley - have similar themes of dark comedy as the basis of their work, and they have been hugely influential to my own practice (Baker herself struggled with borderline personality disorder, and did a series of drawings documenting this).
At first, the art I created based on my own personal experiences, was ‘for me’, but over the last few years I have started to see that I can use the work I do in other ways. Due to the personal nature of a lot of my work, I have always been unsure of making it public, and only showed/displayed what I considered to be most 'acceptable'... However, as I had to do this for university etc., I realised that I could show people, and use it in a positive way to help others and myself. In July 2012 I graduated from university, and my work was exhibited alongside other students’ both in the degree show at Winchester School of Art and at the OXO tower in London Southbank; I chose to show - for the first time - 5 of the ‘diary drawings’ that I had done depicting various aspects of my mental health issues and struggles. I have since exhibited these drawings again as well as other work based on the same theme. I have been doing the ‘diary drawings’ since 2012 and consequently have hundreds! I have also recently found that by showing some of my artwork to professionals involved in my care, I am able to communicate how I am feeling when I am otherwise unable to find the right words to express myself (which happens frequently!).
My favourite ways of working are drawing, painting... and frantically scribbling. My favourite mediums to work with are acrylics, inks, watercolour, and graphite.
It would be brilliant if the artwork I have created could help to raise awareness and challenge the stigma surrounding mental illness- particularly BPD, as this is one of the most stigmatised mental illnesses of all.