To My Past Self: I Forgive You

Shirley Vargas, Northeastern Illinois University

Neva Sills is the faculty sponsor of this project.

Description

Through my art, I aim to confront the topic of mental illness and portray my experience with it. I use my drawings as a method to cope with these issues and to heal. I intend to share with my audience the feelings of isolation, displacement, and paranoia that depression and anxiety bring, and in the process, hope to help break the stigma surrounding it. Drawing with ballpoint pen is a slow, meticulous process that I find cathartic. I lay down delicate layers of ink to gradually build up tones and shadows in greyscale. I do not use color for most of the pieces because I want them to have the look of old black and white photographs. Mixed media paper combined with ballpoint pen gives off a grainy, textured effect that I choose specifically as it reminds me of old black and white film. This creates a voyeuristic relationship between my audience and I as they see, in drawn form, my struggles and depictions of the effects of depression and anxiety. These are normally intimate and meant to be kept private, which in my experience has been damaging. I believe being more open about it can lead to a better relationship with my mental health. I am making myself more vulnerable than I have ever been—I put it out in the open, so I cannot hide from it, and address it through art. Many of my drawings are self-portraits where I show a facet of mental illness and how it affects me. Most of these pieces have dark backgrounds which I keep intentionally plain in order to create a somber mood. I use myself as a model, and in the process of drawing myself, sometimes faceless, I split myself in two, so I can objectively and separately view myself as if I am part of the audience. This helps me see my fears and issues in a new perspective and allows me to decide whether or not they have merit. In some of my drawings I use a motif of repetitive drawings of hands that represent the depression and anxiety and other negative elements of my life. They pull and tear at me and warp my view of life. My works are visual representations of how I have been affected by and view my mental health and document my effort to address and recover through each piece.

 
Apr 19th, 12:00 AM

To My Past Self: I Forgive You

Through my art, I aim to confront the topic of mental illness and portray my experience with it. I use my drawings as a method to cope with these issues and to heal. I intend to share with my audience the feelings of isolation, displacement, and paranoia that depression and anxiety bring, and in the process, hope to help break the stigma surrounding it. Drawing with ballpoint pen is a slow, meticulous process that I find cathartic. I lay down delicate layers of ink to gradually build up tones and shadows in greyscale. I do not use color for most of the pieces because I want them to have the look of old black and white photographs. Mixed media paper combined with ballpoint pen gives off a grainy, textured effect that I choose specifically as it reminds me of old black and white film. This creates a voyeuristic relationship between my audience and I as they see, in drawn form, my struggles and depictions of the effects of depression and anxiety. These are normally intimate and meant to be kept private, which in my experience has been damaging. I believe being more open about it can lead to a better relationship with my mental health. I am making myself more vulnerable than I have ever been—I put it out in the open, so I cannot hide from it, and address it through art. Many of my drawings are self-portraits where I show a facet of mental illness and how it affects me. Most of these pieces have dark backgrounds which I keep intentionally plain in order to create a somber mood. I use myself as a model, and in the process of drawing myself, sometimes faceless, I split myself in two, so I can objectively and separately view myself as if I am part of the audience. This helps me see my fears and issues in a new perspective and allows me to decide whether or not they have merit. In some of my drawings I use a motif of repetitive drawings of hands that represent the depression and anxiety and other negative elements of my life. They pull and tear at me and warp my view of life. My works are visual representations of how I have been affected by and view my mental health and document my effort to address and recover through each piece.