Artist Statement

My current art practice is exploring the effects of social anxiety that I experience in my daily life.  I have used video to show a direct and immediate documentation of the aspects of social anxiety and how I feel and perceive them. The work on show today investigates my experience of two different aspects of anxiety. When I’m in public I have an increase sense of awareness that moves my mind uncontrollably into the fast lane. In comparison to when I am in my safe zone of my bedroom, a moment of calm amongst the anxiety. This is not a just a time of relaxation from the social stresses but it forces me to relive the passage of time that I am unable to consciously experience.

I have found that during my artistic journey I have learnt more about myself and ways to express and communicate. Art has helped me personally to reach parts of my unconscious and gain a sense of control through understanding. I hope this show of work can give you an understanding of myself and the effects of social anxiety.

 

 

 

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5 Key Posts

5 Contextual Posts:

  • Francesca Woodman – Documentational photography exploring herself and the relationship with her body and the space she is in.

 

 

 

 

  • Bruce Nauman– videos about identity and the physical and mental relationship and exhibition set up.

5 Documentational posts:

As an artist, I have continued to learn about myself as a person and express areas that I didn’t realise I was holding on to. I have struggled in my work to pin-point what it is that I am trying to say, however recently I have come to the realisation that my work has always be revolving around one particular subject; my social anxiety. Towards the beginning of this project I was trying to express the idea that I had multiple selves (as a result of anxiety changing the way that I act around people and in certain situations). I produced a series of paintings that reflected different aspects of myself that I felt was important in my life. Towards the end of this project, I started to realise what was more important; it wasn’t the concept of multiple selves, instead it was the idea of living with social anxiety that was paramount. I am including this part of my project as the start of my 5 Key posts because it has played a very important role within my work and how I have got to where I am today.

I received an extension after this point and felt it was crucial that I get back in touch with myself and where I want to take my practice. I experimented with blind drawings as a way to bring my sub-conscious self forward. This idea was informed by my dissertation which was researching how art can be used as therapy; the key point being that art is a tool to access the unconscious. I found it quite difficult at first to draw so loosely but it was quite liberating not to worry about the finished product and to just feel the drawing. I really enjoyed creating the blind drawings and felt as if each drawing was a representation of my unconscious self at that specific time. These blind drawings are a key moment for my practice because it led me into film and photography; the speed at which I was able to produce these drawings and the amount of information that was in them made me realise that I wanted that immediacy in my work. The time taken to produce a painting, or detailed drawing etc meant that the original meaning got altered and almost lost through the process of creating (often due to my lack of self-confidence which is linked to the social anxiety).

I’ve used photography as a way to document myself in my bedroom and as a way to explore the relationship between my mentality and the space I am in, inspired by artists such as Woodman, Calle, and Goldin. My photography mostly consists of self- portraits. After the ‘my bed’ piece that was created in the ‘multiple self portraits’, I became aware of the importance of my bedroom in terms of my social anxiety. I have taken photographs of myself on my bed, shadows in my room, in my bathroom and film stills which ar explained further in the next section. The main photograph that I have taken and has had an effect on my work  is the ‘my bed’ photograph. Following that it is the breakdown in bed/ falling series. I will include both pieces in as part of my Photography section.

I made a film of myself whilst waiting for a bus experiencing anxiety – at the time I was trying to identify what it was I was doing in reaction to the anxiety. I noticed that I felt like I couldn’t control my body and its movements- I felt very fast and jumpy and my attention was caught by every little noise and movement. Alternatively, whilst at home and feeling anxiety about leaving my bedroom and thinking about the effect it has on my life I felt the opposite. I was drained and exhausted from all the overwhelming senses- it manifested itself in a slow, apathetic and distant persona. Having a mental issue like anxiety or depression causes one to be dominated by their own mind and self. I’ve noticed that due to these thoughts and my way of life, I am always conscious of myself and how I feel. I’m tired of being my only thought and problems. It’s quite a narcissistic disability. Within the slow videos of myself, my face becomes distorted, this reflects the way in which I perceive things when in a state of anxiety. Everything starts to feel too close and too overwhelming and too distorted and difficult to separate. The videos emulate a typical ‘bad day’ for me and this is what I’m trying to express. its a difficult subject for me to discuss, my anxiety and state of min, however through this video I feel like. I am communicating what it is like.

My practice has enlightened me to what I have been wanting to say with my art and it helped me to express in words – I believe I experienced what Natalie Rogers calls ‘The Creative Connection’. By being able to create something that I had known all along but hadn’t been able to access until now, it gave me a powerful rush of emotion that I wanted to write and speak. I created some poems in relation to some work I had done and felt better for it – if there was any confusion of misunderstanding with the art I made, my words paired with it perfectly. I originally had the idea of using my words as part of the film, to appear word by word as if spoken.

Editing Videos continued

​​After realising the importance of the fast paced videos I made, in terms of conveying anxiety, I think I need to use it or them for my exhibition. Following this revelation, I have created a film that consists of video, photo, video, photo. I have started with a fast walk video which gets cut off by a film still of a slow motion video. I think the contrast creates a powerful message that describes the effects of anxiety.

 

 

Alternatively, I could have two monitors set up with one playing the slow and one playing the fast:

 

 

I have made this video so that the fast part is the exact same time as the slow video. I have made two of these, with the other one having the slow first instead. The idea behind these two videos are that they can be on a separate monitor next to each other playing and the viewer will see both fast and slow at the same time.

 

Below is the opposite way around but I’ve also used black and white to compare with the colour.

 

Editing Videos

I have made 5 different versions of loops with alternating patterns of the videos- this could ensure that when the viewer walks through or stops at my exhibition they will all have a slightly different experience of the piece of work. Just like each anxiety attack is slightly different. The loop emphasises the idea of occurrence because if you stay long enough to see the video change you will get the experience of viewing another version of the piece. It becomes repetitive and long which reflects living with an anxiety disorder.

I used Movie Maker to add the videos together and used a fading effect for the transition between videos.

Ideally I’d like to experiment with video overlay but at the moment I am unable to find a way to do this on the programs I have.

 

Text, words, poems.

At this point in time I am still unsure as to whether I want to have my text on show or as an overlay on a video or as an audio.

As communication is one of my main struggles, being able to communicate through my art is my only outlet. After finding some creative ways to access my subconscious and what has been bothering me, I was inspired to turn it into words as well.

I’ve always had a keen interest in text with art- such as Emin, Bourgeois, Kelly, Woodman.

The words people to choose to pair with their work, their words they use to explain or express, words they think etc it intrigues me.

I find the words they use as the real honesty and clear thought process..

I have used a journal for writing my thoughts for a few years now and it has helped me to learn about myself and learn how to reflect. Often my writing has influenced my art work or vice versa.

Fading

I can feel myself fading to your sweet embrace,

You hold me so tight never leaving my side,

You’re curled around my veins and pressed against my face,

Run down my throat and fill my mind.

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I can feel myself fading, I’m no longer here,

Tranced in my limbo of a never ending fight

I need to come back, live without fear

And to see the world with a whole new sight

Bedroom

This door is all I have to keep me safe from your gaze.

This wall is holding me still away from the world’s maze.

This window is how I leave without having to be seen.

This floor keeps me grounded when I’m stuck in between.

Time

Time stands still on some days, most Days. There is no such thing

time? It is a blur, a fog in my mind

 I too am taken by moments of inertia

The absence of sound, movement, empathy that I feel sinks me further

Time doesn’t exist there. 

Untitled 

The inside of me is shrinking into the dark hole in the pit of my stomach.

The outside of me is pulsating with blood, burning with heat, tingling and weak.

I’m conscious of my breath but can’t control it.

Unable to focus, my mind is completely dominated by my body. Body completely dominated by mind.

I feel like my stomach is crumbling, my throat has tightened and Im trying not to choke on my own thoughts.

My face has dropped, eyes, arms, legs are heavy.

My body is weighed down, my insides are light and bouncing around. I’m literally fighting out of my own confined space.

Identity

Identity is perception

Identity is movement

Which identity do I identify, today?

Is it loss? Is it my own inability

to accept? Is it me?

Tell me what you see.

I am what you want me to be

I can be what I want to be

But who is me?

Am I split? Or absent

Myth or reality?

I’m not feeling myself today.

Videos

I disappear in the distortion.

I have made two different style of videos of myself; a fast paced and a slow paced. The fast paced one represents the feeling of being on edge, and unable to concentrate on one thing because so many senses are in hyperactivity. In a state of anxiety, thoughts and emotions are constantly changing and running through your mind.. it makes things feel as if time is going faster than normal. I think the fast paced videos may be interpreted as anxiety more than the slow paced however I am more drawn and relate more to the slow paced video. The slow motion videos relate directly to social anxiety as opposed to just general anxiety disorder.

 

In the slow motion:

  • multiple to portray its regular occurrence, the idea of this being something to LIVE with not just a one off.
  • slow for the idea of loneliness, hopelessness, and change the dynamic of the room it is shown in.. for the viewer they are taken from normal time and step into my space and time.
  • distortion of the face to signify the distortion of perception, distortion of who i am, and the intensity of the moment of anxiety.
  • little sound- its another way to grab attention of the viewer and hear my silence. hear how i cant speak or do. silence can be quite a daunting and intense thing.
  • when you reach a point where the anxiety is directly preventing you from living it is no longer a sense of hyperactivity but instead it is a dull, lonely pain.