May Is Mental Health Awareness Month: A Look At Some Related Artists & Artwork
May is recognized as Mental Health Month, a time when individuals and organizations come together to raise awareness about mental health issues and promote access to resources and support. This month provides an opportunity to reflect on the importance of mental health and wellbeing, and to encourage everyone to prioritize their mental health needs.
Mental health issues affect millions of people every year, yet there is still a significant stigma surrounding mental illness. Many people who struggle with mental health issues feel isolated and ashamed, leading them to suffer in silence. Mental Health Month helps to break down these barriers and promotes acceptance, understanding, and compassion.
Throughout the month, individuals and organizations work together to increase awareness about the importance of mental health and promote positive change in our communities. The goal is to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and encourage more people to seek help when they need it.
Artwork Inspired By Mental Health Problems
(1) Silent Shout by Eva Charkiewicz
‘My adventure with photography began after my father died. I did not talk to people and I stopped meeting with people. My depression almost killed me. All the negative emotions that were in me and still are (depression likes to come back), I show in my photos.’
(2) Your Pain Is My Pain by Paula Scotter
‘This represents dysfunction patterns in relationships. It is the expectation that if you put someone else’s needs before your own, somehow this will make you happy. You allow yourself to be badly treated and have few boundaries, then wonder why you feel so hurt and alone. It’s letting your feelings build up and up, until one day you realise and run away – away from the relationship and the ill treatment. The pattern repeats until you say no more and move forward into self-awareness, self-love and healing. Therapy was my route for this. Victim no more.
(3) Tiger, Shark and Me Sit Down for Tea by Emma Haddow
‘I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression since I was a teenager. There have been times when it has crippled me, and I was afraid of everything. I started to face my fears, my demons head on and I still do. It’s scary in the dark but what’s more scary to me is denying and suppressing what lurks beneath the surface. My mental health is good these days. My dark days are still here, but I no longer turn them away.’
(4) Depersonalisation by Morgan Page
‘I drew this after I realised that I was experiencing episodes of depersonalisation. I had been experiencing them for a while, but never knew what it was. Once I found out it had a name, it all made sense. It feels like you’re detached from yourself. The head could eventually be reattached, and I could finally feel like myself again.’
(5) Mind Vomit (**Shown, Above)
‘This represents the daily conversation within my mind. Anxious thoughts, depressive thoughts, sub-thoughts, thoughts about the thoughts, a constant critical commentary and a tornado of darkness, numbness and complete inner turmoil.’
**** Famous Artists Who Suffered From Mental Health Issues ****
The psychological state of an individual affects the way in which they express themselves. Art has long been an outlet for self-expression, and painting is just one art form that individuals use to articulate their ideas and emotions.
Many famous artists throughout history have struggled with mental health issues, including Vincent Van Gogh, Edvard Munch, and Frida Kahlo. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the relationship between mental health and creativity, and how artists can use their art as a tool for healing and self-expression.
Research has shown that individuals who are creative tend to be more prone to mental health issues. This may be due in part to the fact that creativity involves a certain level of vulnerability and sensitivity, which can make artists more susceptible to emotional and psychological stress. However, there is also evidence to suggest that the creative process itself can be a form of therapy, allowing individuals to explore and express their emotions in a safe and healthy way.
***Here are some famous artists who suffered from mental health issues...
---> Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
By far the most famous example of an artist with mental illness is the immensely popular Vincent van Gogh. Van Gogh suffered from anxiety and depression throughout his short life, and he once wrote, “I put my heart and my soul into my work, and lost my mind in the process.”
Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch post-Impressionist painter of landscapes, still life works, and self-portraits. He was not commercially successful during his lifetime, and his death at 37 from a self-inflicted gunshot came after years of mental illness, depression, and poverty. After his death, he became better known and he is now considered one of the most influential artists in the history of Western art. His work, with its bold brush strokes and colors, shows not only a tortured mind but also an immense talent.
---> Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
The Impressionist artist Edgar Degas was known to be an old curmudgeon who hid away in his studio only to emerge at night to walk the streets of Paris. He visited salons with a small circle of fellow artists and patrons and bristled at any intrusions from art critics. In a grouchy tone, he once wrote to critics, “Is painting done to be looked at? Do you understand me? One works for two or three friends who are alive and for others who are dead or unknown.”
Degas was friends with American Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt, who also lived in Paris. Degas, Cassatt, and Cassatt’s sister, Lydia, were often seen at the Louvre studying artworks together. Cassatt and Degas weren’t romantically involved, and in fact, neither ever married. Degas lived alone his entire adult life.
In the 1880s, Degas suffered from bouts of depression and aimlessness. “I’m blocked, impotent. I’ve lost the thread,” he wrote in a letter in 1884. Degas spent the last years of his life nearly blind, restlessly wandering the streets of Paris. Although he had friends and family, his irritability and cruel sense of humor tended to chase people away. He died in 1917. Isn’t it amazing that such a grouchy man could have made such beautiful and light-hearted paintings of dancers, singers, and people enjoying themselves at the races?
---> Edvard Munch led a tortured life; his greatest artworks reflect the struggles he faced. This piece narrates the story of his life, exploring the ways in which his mental illnesses were related to his art, and how his art evolved as a result of this.
Mental illness ran in Munch’s family. His grandfather suffered from depression and his aunt was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
During his life and following his death, Munch has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, among other illnesses. The ways in which figures are orchestrated, expressions are portrayed and colours are assigned present clues about Edvard’s suffering. This is similar to the way in which verbal and behavioural expressions are able to present symptoms of illness to a doctor.
---> Frida Kahlo
Mark Rothko, an extremely depressed and possibly bipolar man, changed his style many times because of his mental well-being. His transition from his original style that was influenced by Expressionism to his last “multi-forms” was abrupt, and although he states they were not self-expressions, it is very obvious that there is an emotional connection behind the colours chosen. Rothko, by all means, is one of the most well known contemporary artists, but had the unfortunate circumstance of mental health issues, but out of that, he was able to create incredible art that inspired and affected people all over the world.
---> Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
Mark Rothko was an American abstract expressionist painter. Rothko was born in Latvia but grew up in Portland, Oregon and spent most of his adult life in New York City. He suffered from bouts of depression and was a heavy drinker. Viewing the vibrating colors in a large-scale Rothko painting in person at a museum is almost a mystical, meditative experience that should not be missed. Let’s hope that painting these works of art also brought the artist some peace and art therapy.
Rothko changed his style many times because of his mental well-being. His transition from his original style that was influenced by Expressionism to his last “multi-forms” was abrupt, and although he states they were not self-expressions, it is very obvious that there is an emotional connection behind the colours chosen. Rothko, by all means, is one of the most well known contemporary artists, but had the unfortunate circumstance of mental health issues, but out of that, he was able to create incredible art that inspired and affected people all over the world.
---> Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564)
Michelangelo’s hand was touched by genius and by madness. The paintings and sculptures of Michelangelo Buonarroti rank among the best in the world, and a visit to Italy to see his work should be on everyone’s bucket list. He produced a huge volume of work with meticulous detail, leading some art historians to speculate that he had obsessive-compulsive disorder. He also suffered from depression and anxiety, shutting himself away from the world for days at a time to work, forgetting to eat or change clothes.
*** WAYS TO HELP THIS MONTH: https://www....reness-month/