An Artist's Work Inspired By Mental Health

An Artist's Work Inspired By Mental Health

Opening up about content.
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My Work Is About Mental Health

This is not something you can see outright, and sometimes I fail to mention it due to the stigma of mental illness, but my artwork is largely about suffering from anxiety and depression. In honor of mental health awareness day, I am sharing the story of how I've covertly been making art about the ebbs and flows that come with depression.

Much of my work can be seen as a reflection of obsessive behavior in the every day. I focus on obsessive tendencies and thinking patterns, whether it is tunnel vision thinking or a fixation with health that leads to a repetitive workout regiment. Obsession is key to both alleviating and causing stress. Repetition and accumulation are major parts of my aesthetic approach to art-making. The knot has become central in my aesthetic vocabulary - linked to fetishism, connectivity, and familial ties while the act of tying knots is a method of coping with anxiety - reinforced through repetitive behavior. My tactile process involves a repetitive series of highly physical steps when slashing, tearing, knotting and stabbing in order to create.

There is a tactile, bodily connection to my work delicately structured through a painstaking process of repetition, accumulation, and seriality.The hand of the maker is evident in the final piece, Purging and Pouring. The dark silk emulates dedication to surface, texture and touch through puckering of material, points of tension and release in continuation throughout the piece, where the fetish broaches the ritualistic. The tangible physical form implies a desire to communicate. Gaping orifices posture the intense need to express or let something out. Conversation, communication or the act of purging is implicit within this gesture of release, where knots and ties pour from the surface, invading the space of the viewer, and thus causing confrontation and contemplation. When the knots enter our space, the work demands interaction and reflection. The outpour can be viewed as a necessary cleansing. The seductive material invites contemplation where the viewer can glean a poetic, emotional narrative of tension and release.



Recognize Growth does not hinge solely on a repetitive action. Instead, there is a rhythm that is almost balanced throughout the work. For the first time I utilize light, cheery colors in my installation. The piece reflects vulnerability, acceptance and progress. There is a balance of vibrance and darkness that I equate to a sense of growth paired with the ebbs and flows of life, a recurrent or rhythmical pattern of coming and going or decline and regrowth. Borrowing from previous work, Purging and Pouring, my new configuration utilizes the tangible physical forms which imply a desire to communicate in areas throughout the piece. The outpour can be viewed as a necessary cleansing. Where the dark knotted strands seem ominous, the soft peach strands unpack an entirely different narrative, communicating ones needs and having the courage to be honest with others and oneself. These forms can be seen flourishing as a result in flowery upholstered blossoms.

As a whole, the installation relies on parts and counterparts. These pieces complete or compliment one another though they are different, from soft and silky, to sticky and weighted they act together to strike a balance. The material use and configuration is playful and thought provoking. The work merely hangs unsteadily, where pins fasten a composition, allowing a sense of instability that keeps the work from becoming static or feeling finished – the struggle and growth is continuous after all. The upholstered objects can be seen as seductive, comical, weighted, erotic or absurd. The contrasting material invites contemplation where the viewer can glean a poetic, emotional narrative of tension and release, decline and regrowth.

Making art about what I am going through helps me to better understand myself and overcome some of these day-to-day struggles. It is a constant battle, but the need to communicate is there. That's why I talk about it with family, close friends and of course with my therapist. I hope by being honest about my art others will be inspired to communicate, seek help and practice self-care through journaling, art-making and expressing themselves.


To see more of my work visit:

My Website

My Instagram

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Ike

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11 Things You Understand If You Hate Physical Contact

Please keep your hands and feet away from me at all times.
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We currently live in a world where EVERYONE LIKES TO TOUCH EACH OTHER. People enjoy hugs, high fives, tapping others on the shoulder, pokes, ect. For someone like you and me (I'm assuming you too since you clicked on this article), this is the WORST thing in the world. Whenever I think of someone touching me (even just a poke) without my permission my reaction is like Sofia Vergara in Modern Family.

I mean, when I take that love languages quiz, physical touch is always on the bottom of my preferences. So I thought to my self, you know I can't be the only person in the world that hates physical touching. So here are 11 things every person who hates physical touch will understand:


1. When people tickle you

I don't care that it's just for fun and jokes; I'm not laughing because I want to, you are literally forcing me to laugh. I hate you, get your greasy hands off of me before I make you get them off of me.


2. When people think they need to tap your shoulder to get your attention

As if simply saying "Hey" followed by my name wasn't enough. I don't need your grubby little fingers touching me. Now I'm annoyed with you before this conversation even started, what do you want?


3. When someone you barely know reaches in for a hug

I don't know who the heck you're thinking you're about to hug because it sure isn't going to be me. Hugs are reserved for people I know well and like, not you. Okay release me now, I am not enjoying this. LET ME GO.


4. When people tell you that you aren't an affectionate person

Are you aware there are ways to show my affection without constantly being all over you like a koala bear? Yes, I'm affectionate, hop off.


5. When someone is in your personal space

We could be best friends, we could be complete strangers. We could be lovers, I could hate your guts. We could be in private, we could be in public. I don't care what the situation is, if you're in my personal space uninvited GET OUT. There is no reason to be so close to me unwarranted.


6. You don't know how to comfort people

When you see an upset loved one, most people think they you should comfort then by pulling them into a long lasting hug. But, that's the kind of things that your nightmares are literally made out of. So, you stand there confused how you should comfort your friend/relative while also not sacrificing your touch moral code.


7. When people say you "look like you could use a hug"

Um no. I never could use one, get off of me. I will let you know when I want one.


8. When you're hugging someone wondering how soon you can release

Please end my suffering.


9. When you arrive at a social gathering and people rush to greet you with hugs

Let's not.

10. When you try to leave a social gathering by just waving to get out of goodbye hugs

Please no one make me hug you.


11. That one person who is allowed to hug you/touch you

This person, typically a significant other or best friend, gets to break all the "no touch" rules and we gladly accept their hugs and cuddles and public displays of affection. But only them, no one can copy them.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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12 Classics That All College Students Should Read

Reading is important — yet many people forget about books.

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These are the classics that I think all college students should read.

1. "Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

This classic by J.D. Salinger is a staple for many high school kids. Yet, I believe college students should revisit this novel, as it's a great portrayal of adolescence.

2. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Love him or hate him, Jay Gatsby is one of literature's most recognizable characters. "The Great Gatsby" is a tragic story of a man stuck in the past, and a grim warning of the empty happiness money buys.

3. "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells

H.G. Wells was far beyond his time. His novel, "The Time Machine," explores what would happen if time-travelling could happen. It's both an evocative and frightening tale, full of important philosophical questions.

4. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde 

This novel is about the degradation of Dorian Gray, and his descent into depravity. It showcases one of the greatest character declines in literature. By the end, Dorian Gray finds his life to be empty, his hedonistic lifestyle pointless.

5. "Norwegian Wood" by Haruki Murakami 

Haruki Murakami is famous for his surreal novels. "Norwegian Wood" follows a college student in Japan, as he navigates life after a tragedy. It's both beautiful yet melancholy. If nothing else, it'll get you listening to the Beatles' Norwegian Wood.

6. "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte 

I consider "Jane Eyre" to be one of the first feminist novels. It's a fantastic Gothic novel about an independent and strong woman — Jane Eyre — who meets the mysterious Mr. Rochester. It's more than a romance — it's a commentary on Victorian societal expectations of women, with Jane representing objection to it.

7. "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

This novel is a beautiful story about a girl in Nazi Germany. Liesel Meminger knows the importance of books, and uses her knowledge and kindness to save a Jewish refugee. It's a poignant novel that expresses the importance of literature and books.

8. Any Sherlock Holmes mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

If you've watched the Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch, then you should definitely give the novels a go. The mysteries are exciting and intriguing, despite their old age.

9. "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens

This is one of my absolute favorites novels. It follows a young boy named Pip, who befriends a beggar, meets the depraved Miss Havisham, and falls in love with unattainable Estella. This novel is at once a bildungsroman and a tragedy.

10.  "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov 

This controversial novel by Vladimir Nobokov follows the perspective of Humbert Humbert, a depraved man who falls in love with 12-year-old Lolita. Nobokov showcases his mastery of the English language, while writing a depraved and tragic story following two terrible people.

11.  "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

Perhaps one of the most famous novels of all time, "Pride and Prejudice" stands the test of time by showing how two outwardly opposite and contrary people can come together and form an amazing love. It's about accepting one's flaws and getting to know people beyond surface level.

12.  "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque

This is a fantastic novel that depicts the absolute horrors of war, particularly World War I. If this doesn't enlighten you about the realities and horrors of war, then no book will.

Reading is important as it broadens one's horizon. Literature is one of the greatest inventions of mankind.

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