Monday, April 16, 2007

The Bi-polar Pendulum

It seems a bit peculiar putting my thoughts and stuff out on the web for all to see, but maybe its therapeutic in some way. I weighed the ramifications of putting this out on my blog, but decided that its so integral to who I am, that I must include it in talking about my art. I was diagnosed with bi-polar illness in 2004. It is something that has definitely affected my artwork and what I portray.

With Bi-polar illness (also called manic-depressive illness) one’s mood fluctuates between depression and mania. I must say that the manic times are wonderful in that I have boundless energy, ideas come to me in droves, I can stay up all night painting without being tired - things like that. With the ups however, come the downs and the downs are usually more down than the ups are up. Those times of depression are very dark. I describe it as someone pulling a shade down and it becoming very clouded. These times are not what I want the world to see of me, because that is not how my personality comes across normally. As a result, I consider it very important to show joy and happiness in my work - hence the usage of bright colors and smiles in many of my pieces.

My sister suggested to me that I explore the dark sides of the illness in my art as well, as many other artists have. (She supposed that some of those artists most interesting work came at those times of hardship and trials). While I agree that this may be the case with many artists, I have an automatic aversion to it. I don’t do this for two reasons: 1. Because I have a very deep rooted belief that I was given this talent to uplift others and portraying darkness and gloom in my work is not what I’d call uplifting and 2. because I find it very difficult to paint when I am going through times of depression. I have no inspiration to create; no muses, no beacons of light. (What I find interesting is that I have no trouble writing at those times).

This illness has taught me so much about myself and helped me to accept things about myself. Maybe my sister is right about showing my sad side too, but right now its not a place I want to go. I don’t know. Life is about learning and I’m still learning. In the meantime, I’ve posted a couple of ‘happy’ pics.

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