ARTIST STATEMENT

Through deeply personal work about my experiences navigating mental health recovery, I seek to make visible the journeys that many go through in private, hidden by shame and stigma. My work has always been about the sublime and psycho-spiritual processes, but experiences in recent years have channeled my focus towards mental health and putting a visual language to neurobiology, grief, and therapeutic modalities that people use to overcome and manage symptoms of trauma and mental illness.

This current branch of my creative path began in 2017 when I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after witnessing a violent event in front of my apartment late one night. I leaned into the creative process to help manage symptoms and make sense of the drastic changes in my nervous system while seeking treatment. The impact of PTSD on my functioning life was devastating, and the stress eventually triggered the onset of my first discernible depressive and manic episodes of Bipolar 2 Disorder, a mental illness that runs in my family. I floundered for a few years before getting connected with the appropriate kind of trauma therapy and a healthcare team experienced with Bipolar disorder, under which I have flourished and found a tranquil and stable life.

 

These positive and transformative experiences with holistic mental healthcare are the engine behind the work I now create. My hope is that by being open and transparent with my journey, others who are suffering with mental illness or the effects of trauma will feel less isolated in their struggles and more hope in the treatment options out there. For me, to make art about is a thing is to liberate it, and the most stigmatized areas of mental illness are where I find the most inspiration. Encountering those who still project shame onto those with mental illness only compounds my drive to live my experience openly and proudly.

Aesthetically, my work is highly textured and layered with a personalized lexicon of colors and shapes that represent parts of the brain and body. Depending on the state I'm in, I'll create pieces about the limbic system, the vagus nerve, the heart, or the stomach. Since trauma is very much embedded in the body, it's very important to me that my work is felt just as much as it's seen, and I'm always trying to further explore what it means to physically feel a piece of artwork with out actually touching it.

Naturally, I'm always asked what I think about art therapy- an area I'm very much interested in pursuing as a career. I often wonder if it's possible for art displayed in a gallery space to be therapeutic for those with stories similar to mine, and this is the question that is currently guiding my upcoming work.