10 October 2017, is World Mental Health day. I was going to post this post on that day as it would be an appropriate time to share this news. However I’ve realised that 10th falls on Tuesday and as I don’t always have the time or energy to write blog posts after being at work during the day, I decided to write it today. Now I’ve written it I may as well post it rather than waiting a couple of days.
This post is about my entry into a competition run by CultureLabel and the UK mental health charity Mind from 18 July ’til 3 September 2017.
Here is the brief :
CultureLabel and mental health charity Mind have joined together to run a competition exclusively for Mind members
This summer, we want you to tell us about the ‘workings of your mind’ through art. Inspired by artist David Shillinglaw, we want you to create a snapshot of the workings of your own mind in a creative way such as a drawing, illustration, painting or photograph.
We all have our own unique ways of working through the things in our mind, and we want to see yours!
Here are some things you could consider to help get you started:
- What does the landscape of your mind look like?
- How are things organised in your mind? Are they structured? Or do they feel chaotic?
- How do you approach problems?
- What keeps your mind working well?
- How do you balance things out in your mind?
- Where do your thoughts start and where do they finish?
The winner will be chosen by David Shillinglaw, and their artwork will appear at an exhibition in London on World Mental Health Day in October. They will also have the chance to meet with David and receive creative feedback.
You will also be in with the chance of winning some special prizes including:
- £200 worth of Love2shop vouchers
- Your work featured in the Mind News membership magazine
- Plus a T-shirt, designed by David Shillinglaw from CultureLabel
The deadline for entries is midnight Sunday 3 September 2017. So get doodling and good luck!
Anyone who follows my blog will know I’m a huge fan of David Shillinglaw and his art so of course I was going to enter the competition. Mind is a good charity and mental health issues are significant to me. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before on my blog, but T, who has been my partner and husband for nearly 45 years, has Bipolar Disorder (also known as Manic Depression), so I’ve witnessed and experienced first hand how devastating and difficult mental health problems can be – our life together has been a continuous roller-coaster ride of ups and downs. Mind is a good and supportive charity and I love their mission statement: “We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect.”
I also think it’s important that people with mental health issues are able to talk openly about them, no-one should feel that they have to hide it from others, feel ashamed about it or be judged for things they are unable to control.
However my entry for the competition was not about T but about the workings of my mind, I wanted to show how full of self-doubt, uncertainty and contradictions I am, how I have this constant commentary going on inside my head and how I use self-talk, art and mindfulness to try and keep calm and stay positive (with varying degrees of success).
I was pleased with how my piece turned out and I think followed the brief quite well. Once I had finished the piece I had to submit it quickly because I knew that self-doubt would start creeping in and I’d talk myself out of sending it in if I gave it too much thought.
To ceate my piece I painted a background with neon acrylics on 140lb water colour paper and then I created the girl’s head and face from images cut from magazines, I used four different faces to create the one image. Then I used various types of marker pens to alter and embellish the face and hair. The symbols around the border and between the phrases are like a secret language to me, I don’t know what they mean, but they appear a lot in my art. I think of them as signs from the universe. The phrases in the piece were written down in a stream of consciousness way and I used lots of different styles of fonts to show that there is no order to the way I think about things.
The winner of the competition was a young man from Liverpool called Ash Alshukri. I think he really deserved to win as his piece is quite stunning and moving. I was very pleased and proud to be named a runner up along with Kathryn Watson and Danika McElroy. You can see all four images here and if you follow the link to Ash’s blog he explains in detail how he created his wonderful piece of art. I must admit I didn’t put that much thought or planning into my piece, but Ash has clearly had a better level of education than me and likes to plan and work things out, he has an analytical mind whereas I just threw myself into it with no planning 🙂 I was so chuffed to be a runner-up though, I had a big grin on my face all day when I found out. 😀
Here is a video of a young woman from Canada describing her experience of Bipolar Disorder. While I am very comfortable talking about my own life and health issues, e.g. I shared pretty much everything while I was going through cancer treatment, I don’t think it’s my place to talk so openly about T’s difficulties, but hope this video might give you a bit of understanding of the kinds of things Bipolar Disorder does to a person. Please remember though it’s a very complex illness and how it manifests itself is unique to each person.
Finally here is a video called Headspace it’s a hand-drawn animation with ink, gouache, white-out and coffee by artist Jake Fried at inkwood.net
Jake Fried (1984) began his artistic career as a painter, but as he went through the process of layering and modifying images, he realized what truly interested him was the way the images metamorphosed in the course of making a painting and he changed tracks to become an animator. In recent years his films have been widely shown internationally, including at the Tate Modern, Sundance Film Festival, and on Adult Swim and Netflix. Fried works with ink and white-out, sometimes adding gouache, collage and even coffee to generate hallucinatory vistas, modifying and shooting the images over and over to create mind-bending animations that evolve at a frenzied pace. He currently teaches at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
That’s all for now, I’ll be back soon and in the meantime please take good care of and be kind to yourself and make some art.
© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2017 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.