Visions

A Series of Paintings

The work in this series of paintings was inspired by periods of psychosis, by my politics and social views, by exploring my memories and from developing a personal visual language.

As I have bipolar disorder, the condition has often severely interrupted the flow of my life – preventing me from working or even from functioning on a day-to-day level. However, I have in retrospect been able to use my experiences and it is the hallucinations, delusions and depression that have provided the focus for much of my artwork.

I find that the process of creating art is in fact therapeutic – and it is being aware of this that has prompted me to produce work and also to encourage other people to be creative.

The choice is simple: be creative, or go insane.

Origins

As you see the Visions series now, all neatly turned out on canvases 230x306mm in dimension (about the size of a Letter page, or A4) and brightly - boldly - coloured with sometimes-clashing-sometime-in-harmony hues; it is not so difficult to imagine how they could have developed from the pages of 'madness' sketchbooks. Full of the sketches and off-the-wall mind-images that came from a manic and hyper-manic state in me.

I was raving when I did those original sketches. They were an oasis of calm in a sea of calamity for me. With every mark - my comprehension would slowly piece together.. Yes, today - with another five sketches, I've had a good brain. And like all bipolar survivors will tell you - sometimes the muse will come thick and fast - and you'd better get it all down, quick, quick, quick.

Themes and Chaos

Of course, some of the symbols are as clear as day to me. There meanings never were a mystery. But often, I've no idea where the image came from. Some darkened corner of my psyche? Channeled by extra-terrestrials? Fed by paranoia about the surveillance programs, the shady parts of Whitehall? A war in heaven? Wars on Earth? Golden deities flying down from the sky? Mutated amphibians? Another tragic hospital visit? Pure Lust? Pure Temptation?

Sometimes it seems that these visions were experienced as through the filter of a hyper-sensitive mind. So that the most mundane happening in the 'real-world' - or at least the generally excepted and tolerated horrors of daily life - transposes to become the 'phantasmagoria' in the wide eyed mind of the bipolar in mania. News of war on the radio, brings regiments of zombie Nazis marching through a dimensional gap in the cellar; forcing me to harm myself - as I must if I'm to stay 'in the light.'

Simple Resolution?

Of course there is, I just said it: Creativity... but, No, it's not just down to the mentally ill to pick up a paintbrush.. No, as Jiddu Krishnamurti said: "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." - I think there's a lot of 'well-adjusted' people out there who could do with breaking out of the insane-society for good - and taking up paintbrush and pencil and pen and clay and glass and all the other wonderful expressive tools and media and figure out just how to build and create a better world for themselves AND for everyone.

Simple.

Stone mask of the head of the Greek God Pan

★ ioΠαν