Most of the time, we trust the information received through our eyes, which can be misleading. This piece is about seeing beyond physical actuality to the person within – their ‘essence’, perhaps. The message behind this piece, and much of my recent work, is: look deeper.
I Just Woke Up Like This
Sometimes my battles with depression mean that I feel unable to express or release the turmoil inside myself. At these times, I tend to switch to autopilot – not noticing the passage of time, and being out of sync with ‘normal’ life. Then someone (perhaps a doctor) will ask “How long have you been feeling like this?” How do you answer a question like that when everything is upside down?
I tried to capture all of that in this piece, and I trust that people who have similar struggles will be able to identify with it.
Of course, it isn’t all doom and gloom. There are times when the clouds part and I feel fresh, inspired, rejuvenated.
The bird in this picture shares my eye colour and has scars on its left foot that match mine (acquired during a life changing experience in India).
The orchid buds are like a promise of good things to come. They are not yet beautiful, but they will be when they open. I saw my own orchids finally bud after a year of struggling, and the sight lifted me.
There are times in the depression journey when the sufferer is utterly drained – unable to move, speak or even think properly. Dr Andrew Solomon says in a TED Talk that the opposite of depression in not joy, but vitality.
Oil on Copper
Copper is a beautiful and valuable material, creating a juxtaposition of the attributes that are often associated with homeless people. I painted this portrait instinctively in an attempt to capture the character of the man in an expressive manner.
The painting is complete with large sections of copper exposed through the portrait, merging him with the surface of the copper. I burnt and the distressed surface to appear organic, highlighting the nature and humanity of the subject.