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Unstill: The Art of Movement

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These paintings are part of a series documenting key moments for me in 2012-13. In May of 2012, after struggling with a period of accelerating anxiety, I sought the help of medical professionals and medication options to help manage my symptoms. The medication caused adverse side effects that left me with a rare movement disorder known as Tardive Syndrome (Akathisia, Tourette-like movements, etc.) These oil on canvas paintings were created to express the helpless feelings associated with coming off psychiatric medication; provide caution and make viewers aware of the extreme pain associated with this condition. This series served as a therapeutic device.

 

I chose to work with my favorite medium, oil on canvas. The brush strokes were intentionally very linear and almost cartoon-like because of the limitations of my body at the time. I also chose to keep my compositions simple, because what was happening to me at that moment in time was incredibly complex and beyond my comprehension. I hope for those people who are still struggling in the acute phases of this disorder, or for anyone struggling with a rare or chronic condition, that you will find some shared experiences in this work.

Please keep an eye out for my memoir, Unstill: The Ordeal of Anxiety, Pills, and an Unknown Movement Disorder, to be released later this year, which gives the full story behind this art.

Hope.jpg

Hope (2013).

15" x 30"

Oil on Canvas.

Titled Censored Three.jpg

Title Censored, III (2012).

6" x 12"

Oil on Canvas.

Moms Bad Genes.jpg

Mom's Bad Genes (2012).

11" x14"

Oil on Canvas.

Waiting Part I.jpg

Waiting, Part I (2012).

12" x 12"

Oil on Canvas.

Legs.jpg

Legs  (2012).

10" x 20"

Oil on Canvas.

Where Doe It Hurt.jpg

Where Does it Hurt? (2012).

18" x 36"

Oil on Canvas.

Title Censored Two_edited.jpg

Titled Censored, II (2012).

14" x 18"

Oil on Canvas.

Geodon Censored_edited.jpg

Title Censored, I (2012).

12" x 12"

Oil on Canvas.

Go Away.jpg

Go Away (2012).

12" x 12"

Oil on Canvas.

Mental Health Awareness.jpg

Mental Health Awareness (2012).

14" x 18"

Oil on Canvas.

Dystonia Web_edited.jpg

Dystonia Awareness (2012).

14" x 18"

Oil on Canvas.

VanGogh Tribute.jpg

VanGogh:  A Tribute (2012).

14" x 18"

Oil on Canvas.

Crucifiction.jpg

The Crucifixion (2012).

12" x 36"

Oil on Canvas.

Empty Inside.jpg

Empty Inside (2012).

4" x 4"

Oil on Canvas.

Anxiety.jpg

Anxiety (2012).

3" x 3"

Oil on Canvas.

Fall.jpg

Fall (2012).

4" x 6"

Oil on Canvas.

Hooked.jpg

Hooked (2013).

12" x 36"

Oil on Canvas.

"Around this time, I turned to my art. As the movements persisted and the accompanying depression started to take over, my drive to find answers and solutions was fading. Much like in my youth, I needed an outlet to let out this frustration. I wanted to write but couldn’t concentrate. My brain was exhausted from trying to be my own doctor, worrying, and just trying to keep myself from jumping out of my skin.

 

Both Scott and Dr. Lewis suggested that maybe it would be a good time to paint or draw. I didn’t want to do anything. When you’re constantly moving all day, all you can do is focus on when you will stop moving.

 

Scott drove me to a local art store to pick up a few supplies. When we got home and I looked at those blank canvases, I wanted to pull a Jackson Pollock and just throw paint on the canvas or just tear them up all together. But, more constructively, I created and painted symbols to depict moments from my current life. I made my compositions in a cartoon style, which felt like a light and uncomplicated way to convey such a complex unknown. Plus, cartoons were one of the few things that always brought me joy. While the figures were simple with minimal detail, the linear work with a black outline required a ton of precision on canvas, and my hands struggled to stay still. I forced myself to complete these works, all while listening to the most depressing showtunes I could find. I needed to feel productive and that I was accomplishing something. To be stuck at home with nothing but my own thoughts made me feel useless."

Selection from Unstill: The Ordeal of Anxiety, Pills, and an Unknown Movement Disorder

7AM.jpg

7:00 A.M (2012).

4" x 4"

Oil on Canvas.

Lemons.jpg

When Life Gives You Lemons... or Bitter Fruit (2012).

3" x 3"

Oil on Canvas.

Tears.jpg

Tear Drop (2012).

3" x 3"

Oil on Canvas.

Hanidcap.jpg

Handicap (2013).

4" x 4"

Oil on Canvas.

but youre functioning.jpg

"But You're Functioning" (2012).

11" x 14"

Oil on Canvas.

Edmond or Agitation_edited.jpg

Edmund or Agitation (2012).

6" x 6"

Oil on Canvas.

IMG_6211.jpg

Drowning (2012).

6" x 8"

Oil on Canvas.

Chemistry web_edited.jpg

It's All Chemistry (2012).

4" x 6"

Oil on Canvas.

Therapist_edited.jpg

Talk Therapy: A Tribute (2012).

12" x 16"

Oil on Canvas.

Boy Who Cried Wolf.jpg

Boy Who Cried Wolf (2012).

6" x 12"

Oil on Canvas.

Alone.jpg

Untitled (2013).

18" x 36"

Oil on Canvas.

The Verdict.jpg

The Verdict? (2013).

10" x 10"

Oil on Canvas.

Buddha.jpg

Buddha (2012).

9" x 12"

Oil on Canvas.

SI Awareness.jpg

Suicide Awareness (2020).

10" x 30"

Oil on Canvas.

Waiting II.jpg

Waiting, Part II (2012).

10" x 10"

Oil on Canvas.

Tail lights.jpg

Taillights (2012).

9" x 12"

Oil on Canvas.

Aluminum Hotdog.jpg

Aluminum Hotdog (2012).

9" x 12"

Oil on Canvas.

Blank_.jpg

Final Piece (20--).

TBD

Oil on Canvas.

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