I struggle with a fourteen-year-old diagnosis of Bipolar 1. Stabilizing my mental health is a constant challenge.
This work, entitled BROKE WORK, is an example of how familiarity warps in the perceptions of a manically fractured mind on the mend.
In May of 2016, I moved back to my hometown of Denver, Colorado after three years in California studying photography and art. I left to recover from incessant manic depression, that lasted about that whole time.
At that point, I had been held back to complete and dropped my MFA candidacy, halfway through my final thesis. I was in incredible debt from school, my criminal court cases, manic shopping sprees (typical of the diagnosis), and hospitals bills. I was tired, and my ability to rationalize the situation had been thwarted by mental illness. I was with my friends and family, but I was also without a penny in my pocket, and no work, again.
When I shot these photographs, I used a piece of broken glass brick to interrupt a sense of full verisimilitude in the images. The visual effect is meant to signify the trouble with getting back to a sense of “reality” that those faced with Bipolar constantly re-learn to achieve, each time they heal from a manic episode.
Glass brick reminds me of my family home in Denver. We had a few windows made from it. It is a symbol of familiarity to me. In California, I carried a glass brick from apartment to apartment to remind me of home. It shattered when I moved back to Denver. This ironic twist was a perfect impetuous to get me creating art.
I’m lucky to have a support system with resources in place, otherwise this healing would be much more difficult to realize, and getting back to being a productive member of society would be devastatingly difficult, as it is for many with my diagnosis. Though the work is personal in nature, it connects to why health care and support is crucial to the stability of the mentally ill.
These photographs were made with Ray Metzker's famous Pictus Interruptus in mind for aesthetic influence. I love that work. I shot them with 120mm color film, scanned it, then manipulated the images in Photoshop. Their final presentation dimensions will be 15 inch square digital C prints matted white with exhibition black frames.