My work represents different people; men, women, and children dealing with different mental illnesses. My context deals with the struggles of those living with a mental illness and their recovery stories. As well as the conflicts that are being faced in the public due to stereotypical media portrayals and the ideas of the mentally ill that have been around for centuries. Living with a mental illness is hard enough. These Western films for which I use have stereotypically depicted those affected by a mental illness. Due to this society doesn't always represent or treat people with severe mental illness fairly. The ill then become victimized due to their psychiatric labels. It is difficult for those with a mental disorder to face a world that misunderstands, devalues, and isolates them.
Through my artwork, I want to bring awareness to mental health issues because it's a serious matter. Misrepresentational images of the mentally ill are painful and offensive. The stigma surrounding people with mental illnesses has created harm to everyone suffering with illness. These stereotypes are not new. In ancient Greek and Christian societies, people that were mentally ill were thought to be possessed by evil spirits. The Greeks saw the mentally ill as trained by evil and viewed madness to be a punishment by the gods. In the bible madness was seen as a godly punishment and Christians saw the mentally ill symptoms to be a possessed of the devil. Today media portrayals of people with mental illness as evil maintain the negative aura that has been long attached to mental illness. The media and movie industry has inaccurately depicted those with a mental illness as dangerous and violent people, especially in horror and comedy genres. People with mental illnesses are people with disabilities who struggle day by day with their symptoms. To ignore the harmful media depiction of mental ill is to increase the suffering, rejection, stigma, humiliation, and confusion when afflicted with a mental illness. Mental illness stigma undermines recovery both by adding burden of secrecy and by isolating psychiatric patients from the needed social an emotional support. In my paintings, I have recently been working on diptychs that compare stereotypes from the media with realistic representations of mentally ill people.
In my content, I have been using the human figure, facial expressions, text, media movie posters and movie scenes. I have also been depicting the symptoms of moods from each disorder though color by using the psychological effect of color, and the simultaneous contrast of color. So the viewer can get a better understanding of the mood that is being felt throughout each disorder because people with mental illnesses have difficulty regulating their moods. To accomplish this, I use mediums such as oil paint, acrylic, and gouache. For my paintings, I use traditional techniques and realistic rendering.
Ultimately, societal representations, true stories, western culture and historical context concerning people with mental illness in America is my focus. I have been influenced by artists Francisco Goya, Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, and Vincent Van Gogh.