Image by Sydney Sims

MY SUPERPOWER PSYCHE

BY   JAYNE  MAYFIELD

Society is recognizing the importance of mental health but has not fully committed to the process. Michelle Obama said it best,   

 

“At the root of this dilemma is the way we view mental health in this country. Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or your brain, it’s still an illness, and there should be no distinction.”

Does mental health directly affect how an artist creates their work? YES. Without a doubt it does, whether healthy or poor. The shape of one’s mental health becomes weaved into the psyche like a complicated pattern in a rug. Try to separate the two. It’s a waste of time. The lines are blended.

 

An artist, whether they suffer from mental illness or not, must be embraced and accepted as a whole. Then, we can fully comprehend the depths of their work, so the experience of their creation becomes an authentic connection. A shift is manifested.

 

“We are a little crazy aren’t we, especially artists?” I continued reading this sentence from the description of the subject on the website with the question repeatedly in and out of my head. Digesting the word “crazy” wasn’t happening. I am not one who is easily offended but I won’t be labeled as crazy.

THE FAMOUS

Over time, we have learned of famous artists who suffered from poor mental health posthumously. Francisco de Goya had Susac Syndrome which impairs brain function. Vincent Van Gogh and Jackson Pollock both had bipolar disorder. Kanye West is an infamous persona who lives with a mental disorder. Munch wrote in his diary,

 

"My fear of life is necessary to me, as is my illness. They are indistinguishable from me, and their destruction would destroy my art."

ME, MYSELF, AND I

When I struggle with my mental health the images that I produce are dark, raw, and crude compared to when I am well. Pages are filled with simple jagged lines, flat distorted images, and most importantly, the absence of color. The work tells the story of abuse I endured, and challenges during times of healing. I have only recently begun to share this art. Previously, I wouldn’t dare to do so; I felt exposed and uncomfortable. 

 

Overall, I believe that an artist does not see the world the same way non-creatives do. They experience everything just a bit differently. For me, things are constantly broken down into ranges of color, varieties of line, multitudes of shape, and degrees of texture. Many times, my surroundings are so overwhelming and I need to just take a step away. Now, do I feel that way because I am an artist? Is it my quirky personality? Or, my Borderline Personality Disorder? It’s all the above. Humans are multifaceted and must be embraced in their entirety.

Once upon a time I was deeply ashamed of living with BPD (borderline personality disorder). My fear was that it would define me. Through treatment, education, and therapy I accepted that it is part of who I am. My war against BPD will not cease until the end of my days, but I choose to aggressively fight my battle daily with coping techniques, therapy, and medication.

These past few months have been a positive time in regards to my mental health. The subjects of my art encompass my interests, and issues I feel passionately about. My personality and exceptional mood are relevant. The work is bursting with color and an overload of texture is present. I am creating images by using intricate techniques that result in rich detail.

My desire is for the viewer to not only visually engage in the art, but also yearn to physically touch it. During this time I am also prone to share my process. My social media becomes flooded with progression photos until completion.

Crazy. Perhaps some want to embrace that word regarding anything to do with mental health. Maybe own it? Reclaimed like the LGBT+ with queer and feminists with the term pussy. It is one way of thinking that I cannot get behind.