The ever-present face

the ever present face

One thing my doctor and I talked about when he was diagnosing me with ADHD was that when I was a kid, I saw faces in everything. I would always find two eyes and a nose, even inside the barely-visible strokes of paint on the wall. What a weird superpower.

Finding the face in things made me feel calm when I was in a stressful situation; something that happens to a kid pretty often. To my doctor, this was something of a sign that my brain was wired a little differently from others.

Today, I draw faces more than I see them. They still comfort me.

Accidental Narrative

darklight dudes

This fun drawing is a snapshot of what I imagine is a lighthearted ghost story. Although I do like to write as a hobby, I did not come up with any conscious narrative. I actually started this drawing by choosing to use pencil for the theme of “light and dark.”

When I felt like I had nothing more to offer the picture, I took a long look at the image and realised that this was more of an illustration. Maybe I’ll be drawing these two ghosts, or something like them, again at some point.

Auditory

I drew this a few weeks ago, based on the idea that music lives in our every cell.

vase voice orange purp

It’s a little cliche, sure. But much of art is based on things we’ve seen over and over again.

One of my favourite artists ever is Vasily Kandinsky, who drew music effortlessly (based on his synesthesia) and I would have him no other way. I adore the obvious movement his music-based works have; the clear emotion of his experience.

Just like any other artist, I tend to draw what’s close to home. So while I did think of Kandinsky, these colours and lines are all mine; a representation of my musical “home.”

 

Depression Draws

Suffice it to say this post is about some of my struggles with mental health. If you’re not in the mood for that, enjoy the pretty pencil drawing of a giant bird behind a tree and a sinister apple. Skip my ramblings below and laugh at the tree blocking most of the bird’s body, or enjoy the lines of the apple’s “shadow” instead – I won’t fault you. Not that I’ll know, anyway!

shadow apple-abnormal bird

I have depression and anxiety. Anxiety is the part of me that is constantly deluded and fighting everything around me. Depression is the part that sticks me right into the ground and boxes me inside thick walls. However, sometimes my anxiety freezes me and my depression makes me commit desperate, irrational acts. After all of these years I am able to understand and identify the subtleties of it all; it’s actually quite complicated and based on past events as well as my own body chemistry.

My mental health does not drive all of my art. None of my art is drawn in the worst depressive or anxious phases. Those are times when making art feels so impossible, even though I may want to. So I draw a lot when I am feeling “well” and scan them to post here.

Being in a bad mental place, or in the downswing of the cycle, isn’t the only time depression and anxiety show themselves. Constantly dealing with those mind states simply forces my hand; being yet another place of inspiration. Many of my drawings include ideas related to paranoia and irrationality as a result, even the bird and apples above.

When we look at the history of art, we see almost a glorification of artists who are stifled with poor mental health. Such troubled people created such beautiful work, right? I think that this is a result of academics who do not understand psychiatric struggles writing about that which they do not know with unnecessary wistfulness.

I’m not thankful for the negativity my mental health brings to myself and others around me, but I recognise how much it influences me. But so what if my depression and anxiety give me stuff to work with? The toll is often extremely high. I’d rather not make them the center of my universe.