Psychologically Unsound: Looking Back at a Decade-Old Visual Arts Project

It’s true: I have not updated in over three months, and there is really no excuse.  I have started countless posts on a variety of subjects (radio DJs, celebrity deaths, longform storytelling, the symbolic nature of underground spaces…the list goes on) and yet have been unable to finish any to my liking. The post you are reading now is something I intended to publish back in December but never got a chance, primarily because I haven’t had any luck finding the original text/statement that goes along with it. Well, I don’t see any point in putting it off any longer because that text is likely lost forever.

Some background first. I have always been intrigued by abnormal psychology. It was the first chapter I read in my psychology textbook in my junior year of high school, and probably the only chapter I ever actually read. While I generally struggled in that class, I got an easy 100 percent on the one quiz we had on the abnormal psychology chapter. The girl who sat in front of me and was always tasked with grading my papers seemed confused when she handed it back, perhaps wondering how I had managed a perfect score when I typically bombed those quizzes. I merely shrugged, somewhat embarrassed. I had not studied or even re-read the chapter.

Fast-forward a year later. I was in my AP Drawing class, trying to think of possiblities for the “concentration” portion of my portfolio. It’s probably no surprise that I was brimming with ideas for series. And were I a more prolific and disciplined artist, I would have attempted most of them at some point or another, because they were all equally inspiring to me. But my idea of researching and visually depicting various mental disorders is the one that interested my teacher the most–so I ran with it. These pieces are the result.

I was reminded of this project while looking through old files on my laptop a few months ago, and since I had just been writing #Flashback2School posts, it seemed appropriate to revisit these. While I didn’t polish my fine arts skills until college, there is something raw about these images that I appreciate. I hardly ever draw with anything other than pen and marker these days, so it’s revealing to take a look at how my style might have evolved. These are all done in either Nupastel or watercolor pencil, mostly the former. In retrospect, Chromophobia is probably my favorite, though it would’ve been interesting to see what the same piece would’ve looked like in pastel.


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