Academic Level at Time of Creation
Date of Creation
I have explored a number of ideas and media since starting my journey toward becoming an art educator. One that I seem to find myself returning to regularly is my interest in exploring mental illness. This derives from my experience with people in my life that have dealt with and continue to deal with mental illness, myself included. I want to raise awareness about mental health and the impact it has on the sufferer through my art.
I have touched on this idea in some of my past works, including a photo diptych that depicts the highs and lows of someone who is dealing with bipolar disorder, represented through the use of black and white. For this work I drew inspiration from Christian Sampson, a 24 year old photographer who made photos that depict the “invisible” impact mental health has on the sufferers. It shows a visible representation of what different mental illnesses would look like if we could actually see them. I also made a necklace using different metals and patinas to create textures and contrasting colors that represent depression and anxiety in a way where each one is making the other more prominent.
I plan to continue my exploration of mental illness in future works through the use of wood and the different techniques that I am learning. I also plan to make larger works that draw inspiration from Patrick Dougherty, who makes structures mainly made of twigs. These structures have entrances and exits in various different places along the vast expanses of the individual works. I plan to combine the large structures of Dougherty and representation of mental illness of Sampson’s photos to make a work that draws not only on the growing amount of people who are dealing with mental illness with the large sculptures but also how each mental illness affects the sufferer in different ways through multiple different structures. To this end I have decided to focus in woodworking for my BFA.
Dr. Rebecca Williams; Dr. Sarah Martin
Individual descriptions for the different works can be found on the Thumbnail sheet.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Cunningham, Talitha, "Talitha Cunningham" (2019). Professional Practices (ART 399). 63.