Who Am I?: An Artists Perspective On Mental Health

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Issue Date
2023-12-08
Authors
Eaton, Fitch
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First Reader
Brand, Heather R.
Additional Readers
Rich, Byron
Keywords
Mental Health , Art, Science, & Innovation , Art , Painting , Sculpture
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Abstract
I am a northwest Pennsylvania-based painter and sculptor whose works explore the relationships between society, self-discovery, and mental health. My artwork discusses topics such as self-harm, depression, anxiety, relationship dynamics, and the way that mental illnesses are perceived and understood by the general public. I intentionally construct objects the “wrong” way in order to highlight the feelings of discomfort and disgust that arise when viewing the work. This particular body of work, "Who am I?", highlights the vulnerabilities that come with being open about who you are, specifically in regards to grappling with the more challenging parts of my own identity. These four works each represent a different aspect of my lived-experience, starting with the Black-Eyed Susan, hovering just inside the left hand’s palm. Black-Eyed Susans represent hope, justice, and internal motivation. The Black Petunia, floating in the right hand, symbolizes repressed emotions and feelings left to fester or form resentment over time. Lavender is a symbol of the LGBTQ+ community, and in the context of these works, represents acceptance and redefining oneself. The sculpture is purposefully left blank in order to signify the unknown nature of future experiences. There are triangular-shaped holes carved into various parts of the ceramic work, and the head of the figure is an upside-down triangle, playing off of symbolism commonly used to discuss the anatomy of genitalia. The sculpture represents me, a blank slate for future experiences to be imprinted upon.
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Art, Science, and Innovation
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Art
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