“Someone you know lives with a mental illness.” So starts the bold yet accurate statement for Mindful, Exploring Mental Health Through Art, the upcoming September exhibition at the Society for Contemporary Crafts in Pgh.
I’ve written the feature essay for the exhibition catalog, to be shared in full after publication. I was honored to have at my disposal the participating artists’ statements, in order to weave their voices into my reflections, on a topic I have been writing and speaking on for years.
Creative artists are a segment of the population whose way of being in the world brings them variously close to two poles– extreme wellness and extreme discomfort. Mania, anxiety, depression, mood or personality disorders can inordinately pervade their lives as they attempt to make sense of inner pain and darkness. There’s little doubt an artist’s balance at times goes by the wayside– but namely its in the chase to sustain a living while creating!
But Art allows for ease. For the most part, It keeps its makers well. Artists put their sensitivity, their ill, their abundance of feeling into the transformative fire of creation. I propose that eradicating the stigma of mental illness can best happen when the same fierce energy that defines the creative life is applied as a catalyst to this battle…
Check out the link, go to the exhibition and see the work, read the artists’ statements and essay, and advocate for acceptance that there is nothing more significant than our mental health.
Image: Jan Vojta c 15 Charcoal, Pen & Ink