18 x 24 inches
Oil paint on canvas
This piece is a representation of how overwhelming it is to live with bipolar disorder. Vivid euphoric imagery representing mania is juxtaposed alongside the unsettling macabre of depression, expressing the raw emotional unrest embedded within both sides of the cycle. I utilized styles that reflect such used during my teen years, before beginning treatment with medication. Manic episodes brough bright, colorful collages of subject matter that felt jumbled and chaotic as a result of the fast pace at which thoughts would stream in flooding my mind and then vanish just as quickly as they appeared, while depression consisted of eerie imagery done in a rough sketched out style signifying a gritty seemingly endless shadow of helplessness. For many years this was my life, jolting between periods of highs and lows, which reflected prominently in my art for a long time.
I have never felt more alive than when I was in manic mode, though it was entirely superficial. I felt as though I was on top of the world, and I could see, imagine, and accomplish anything. Ideas were endless and manifested far more rapidly than I could physically manage to execute, which caused me to bounce around from one project to another and never fully finish anything. I would be so hyper focused on doing everything at once that I would eat next to nothing and get maybe a couple hours of sleep per night, if any at all. Conversely, the depression was crippling. I would sleep for sixteen hours a day and still not have the energy or motivation to get out of bed. I didn’t want to live and routinely became engulfed in self-destructive behavior, both physically and mentally. Every day felt like nothing more than one more moment closer to death.