i know you don't believe but..

i'll pray for you

as a dedicated agnostic
i get this enough
enough that I have four or five scrips
depending on the preacher

one: you get the dedicated, passionate preacher
who follow the law and feels he's entitled
to preach to you.

two: the average religious folks who believe
but they dance around the subject by talking
about the power of prayer

forth you get the psychopath who's willing to risk everything to
prove his side of the story. They are right and you are wrong.
ignore them.

But there has to be another way, accepting prayers as an agnostic is something that I keep near and dear to my heart. The person is offering me the highest form of thoughtfulness that they can come up with. I'm going through an incredibly hard time. One that without some support I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to take it on on my own. It's the same old scene though, people are there for you as long as it's convenient to them. I find friends fade, they get bored or distracted or they just don't know how to be supportive anymore. 

I always accept prayers, the power of belief is one that is beautiful and magnificent, whether it's the universe or God or Allah or Buddha, prayer is beautiful and just because I don't believe it doesn't mean I don't appreciate the sentiment. 

So i'll take all you've got. Prayers, thoughts, good vibes. I certainly could use it.


This is an Angry Blog (Please feel free to ignore it)

I have a lot on my mind today, I had a few things that totally threw me for a loop today that were truly frustrating so I'm going to talk about art but not art I guess. 

Art is physical, it's emotional, it's spiritual, and it's mental. It involves every part of your soul, so when someone comes in and gets in your head it can really make things difficult. I had a person today tell me that mental illness doesn't exist (and a whole slew of other terrible things), but specifically that all people who call an ambulance during a crisis are just looking to be drugged up for a little while and "drool on themselves". They even went as far as to ask if I was beaten or sexually abused as a child to have an excuse as to how I acted pre-diagnosis. (she also said if diabetics stopped taking their meds and just weren't fat they would be cured). Let me tell you, I have been angry in my life, I don't think I've ever been this angry.

So it's taken me this long to write this blog. I was going to write about the body and how important it is and has always been to art making. I was even going to do a little art history lesson with it. I was going to write about how physically making myself better by walking every day to make photographs is making me more in tune with my body and my mind. It's making me feel better about myself and not be as concerned with the way that I look because I feel good. It's time away from screens and time away from conversation other than the occasional good morning (people are SUPER friendly at 6 am). I was going to write about how my relationship with my body has been a long and complicated one of self destruction and self harm, but art (and therapy) helped make me better. All of these things I was going to put into what I felt was an important thing to talk about for myself. 

However my night was ruined by this person, and I let it be ruined. I let myself get this upset about someone who is obviously not educated in the way I am about this topic.  I let it control me. Normally I have a pretty thick skin, five straight years of critiques will do that to you, but being bipolar is so ingrained in my story and my art that the ignorance got to me. I am tired of defending the fact that medication is important to my survival. I would be dead without it. That is not an exaggeration. I am tired of explaining to people that exercise and meditation will not cure my chemical imbalance in my brain. They help a lot, but it is not a cure. I am tired of people telling me maybe you should take your meds just on days that you feel bad. THAT IS NOT HOW IT WORKS. 

I want to make art. I love art. I love writing. I wouldn't be writing this blog if I had not made the decision to go to therapy and take medication and talk openly with my friends and family about my illness. 

I'm sorry for the non art related art blog, but today exhausted me. It made me feel illegitimate and frustrated that there aren't enough resources for education about mental illness, or resources for treating it. 

I refuse to be silent though. If I can help one person that's all that matters. I am stronger because of my fight, I am a better person because of my fight. My feelings are legitimate and so are yours. 

We will be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow evening.



A Little Crazy Never Hurt Anyone

Okay, you might be thinking,
"Shit she's going to talk about mental illness, she promised some more light hearted posts, I don't want it" 

Or you might be totally apathetic. 

Odds are it's the latter because I just started this blog and I don't have people knocking down my door to read it every day. My plan today was to write some half assed version of this post about making art from what you know, don't be that guy who makes a film where someone asks "Did you take your meds today?" when a character is acting crazy. I guess that pretty much sums up what the other post was going to be about.

Instead yesterday I was inspired by two really brave women, one I know personally and one that I was lucky enough to see perform her heart out (with a three minute fart noise mash up to wrap up the show). To tell my story, or at least to not talk around it anymore.

For those of you who don't know I'm diagnosed with Bipolar I, which is a mental illness characterized by periods of depression, hypomania, and mania. It's not one of the illnesses that gets a lot of press, although celebrities like Maria Bamford and others are very open about it, there's even a magazine! That's right every couple of months you can read all about it if you so choose. 

How does this relate to art? After all this is an art blog. Everything about me affects my art practice, for example if I'm not taking my medication and I'm depressed I get nothing done. If I'm not taking my medication and I'm hypomanic I get A LOT done, but at the expense of my sleep, relationships, and usually money. If I'm manic I'm in the hospital, so there's not much you can do there art wise because they don't let you have sharp things or cameras, and I'm not much of a charcoal artist. 

I've heard it all from various people about art practice and mental illness, everything from "well you're probably more creative off your meds" to "I choose to not practice the self care my doctors told me to because I feel that it makes my art better." 

I have been there more than once, I have taken myself off medication because I thought it was a really good way to make my practice better. Here's a little secret, it didn't. Usually visual hallucinations get in the way of making good photographs, and the deep depression that made me feel like I was rotting from the inside out was not a productive way to practice drawing my own face for a figure drawing class, especially since I usually had a pretty twisted perception of what I looked like after not being able to move for days. 

So sure, if you have a mental illness and you can function without medication, more power to you. But even if the art is better, the world would rather have more of it than a few great pieces. (Also attempted suicide comes with A LOT of paperwork, so just don't try). 

Anyway, I'm not going to say that I would give up being bipolar, and I know that's a little fucked up, but it gives me a slightly different perspective on the world, and I think it makes me a more empathetic person (as long as I'm stable, if I'm not I'm quite mean). 

So yeah, that's all I've got. This was terrifying to write, and terrifying to post, but art is about taking risks, even if it's not visually. 



Art and Romanticizing Being Miserable

The struggling, troubled, artist has always been a trope both in real life and in the media. I can't remember the last time I saw an artist in a film that was the "healthy" character. Sure, we do tend to be an eccentric bunch who take ourselves too seriously, occasionally party a little too hard, and have a tendency to hyper focus on whatever we're doing. For example, when I'm working in the studio I communicate in hand gestures and half words, which can be frustrating for the people who are helping me out, and can sometimes be a little off putting to my subjects. In my real life, I'm a little more laid back. 

Depending on what I'm working on, sometimes making art makes me miserable, because it takes so much of myself I don't have the energy to do anything else. It can make me a difficult person to be around when I'm focusing on one thing for a long period of time. My senior thesis was like that, all I could do was focus on the concept and move forward slowly but surely without stopping. Despite these quirks and rough patches, art making truly brings me great joy, and in fact helps me deal with my mental illness in a healthy way. 

I think the point that I'm trying to make is you don't have to be miserable to make great art, but a lot of times being miserable facilitates great art. It's a complicated dichotomy, another blurry line that all creators have to walk. I truly think that any strong emotion can push someone towards something great, and hopefully for most of you that strong emotion won't be sadness or depression, but joy or passion, which can be just as powerful and can create something just as beautiful. 

Despite this beautifully painted picture of positivity, my art does not always come from a place of joy. Sometimes it's a place of pain or trauma, sometimes it's a burning desire to tell someone else's story, sometimes it's obsession, sometimes it's purely me all the good and bad bits sewn together which will hopefully in the end amount to more good than bad. I try to avoid romanticizing the depression that for a while was what fueled my work, a lot of times it's very difficult. I now know that creating is more nuanced than that, and making work can and will come from all aspects of the human experience. 

Anyway, that's all for today. 

Until next time,