• Becky Pass

Senior Project - Week 1-6 progress

I figured I would clean up my blog from my previous site as I continue to update the new one.

As a senior year art student, our senior thesis project is a body of work that our Senior Project class completes throughout the semester (Jan - May).

My senior project revolves around mental health issues, of which I suffer, such as depression/anxiety/PTSD, etc, and how it can be represented in my artwork through material, media, and personal narratives. Within recent years, the subject of mental health has been a largely discussed topic, in which one in four people are diagnosed as having at least one form of a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression. It seemed important to me to discuss these problems and feelings in my work as someone who, like many, is living with them daily.

Like many, the symptoms of these issues leaves one living a life that doesn't feel like a life at all. It breaks our realities and sense of time, leaves us bitter and broken, and keeps us from getting out of bed and eliminates the chances of us living our best, as much as we try to. I, myself, have sought out the comforts of drinking, binge eating, smoking, etc, as a way to cope, yet at the same time it continues to worsen the problem - feeding the cycle of mental illness.

In the beginning stages of this project I had worked on a triptych sketch that incorporated many metaphorical and representational elements using figure, landscape, and items that portray the uncomfortable aspects that comes with mental health issues. The feelings of drowning, fear, abandonment, emptiness, and feeling like nothing more than just a part of the scenery, all the while just watching your life go by on both sides of the glass. As well, I incorporated images that represented the passing of one's past self before mental illness took over and brought about extinction of innocence.

The triptych portrays a desolate landscape that is plagued by barbed spikes and its tendrils, a representation of how mental health illnesses act like a tumor in which is pierces and spreads to all aspects of being; and a cracked and broken scenery filled with various objects and faces. The crumbling foundations of a fragile mind and sense of being is depicted throughout, in which multiple faces represent the many personalities that mental health issues leave one having.

(Apologies for the bad photos) The triptych sketches:

Using reference photos of myself, I sketched a couple ideas with the similar themes of brokenness and coping that is part of my triptych. I'm quite critical of myself, and sketched out an idea of how I use binge eating as a coping device. The other sketch continued with the theme of falling apart, instead, my portrait is pulling bits of herself off, due to my somewhat apathetic and self-sabotaging nature that depression so lovingly provides.

I had continued to play around with the idea of mental illness spreading like a tumor, inspired by the tendrils on my triptych. This sketch was me playing around with color and mixed media, and portraying the pain and suffering I have undergone in my life.

After looking at other artist's styles, I was experimenting with acrylic painting, and playing on the theme of brokenness, anxiety, and triggers. I had decided to not do the triptych, but more figurative and abstract and surrealistic tones.

At this point in the process I was also looking more into how those feelings were in the moment, rather than trying to drudge up negative feelings as motivation for this project. The first was captured in a moment that triggered memories of the emotional abuse I had endured many years ago. This was to portray how something as simple as watching t.v will trigger PTSD episodes.

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