Art and Mental Illness

Over the past few days, I’ve been trying to brainstorm ways that I could potentially branch out into the mental health field with the project I’m working on right now. Ideas that I’ve been considering is the possibility of lecturing/exhibiting at a mental health conference and seeking out medical venues to show the work.

I’ve been searching online for connections between art and mental illness, specifically trying to find artists who make work about their direct and personal experience with mental illness.  Most of what I found was articles about art therapy, and studies linking creativity and mental illness.  I really couldn’t find any information about any artists who are making work about their own experience.

One of the most fascinating articles I came across was about the artist William Utermohlen, who created self-portraits that depict his descent into dementia.  It’s chilling to see the way the portraits evolved over time as the Alzheimer’s started to take over. You can read the full New York Times article about his work here.

William Utermohlen’s self-portraits.

One thought on “Art and Mental Illness

  1. I have encountered similar difficulties researching artists who address their own experience with mental illness. I am delighted to discover your project. Have you found any other artists working in this genre? Are you familiar with the work of Lauren Simonutti?

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