My paintings, installations, digital art, and animations help me process my thoughts through visual art, share with others who have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and inform those who do not have the disorder to its nature towards breaking down stereotypes. My current animation project displays my OCD compulsions, thoughts, and associations, and illuminates the many who struggle with an almost invisible disorder.
My current work builds upon my previous projects. I have created artwork centered around endangered species, the deforestation and destruction of the environment, and speciesism. I have incorporated my passion for animals and nature into my paintings, showing how humans see themselves as the superior species and exploit the environment and other animals. As I made work about the environment, I wanted my process to be more eco-friendly and began hand making paper from recycled materials. Something that had previously hindered my artmaking was my OCD. However, I decided to incorporate the disorder into my process and make my obsessive motions and thoughts the work itself. I also was able to draw on past personal experiences to support my pieces.
My series Compulsion (2020) features larger than life canvases portraying my obsessive thoughts or movements. I apply black, white, and red oil and acrylic paints by brushes and hand. With repetitive motions and mark making, I recreate the exact patterns that I do at my dorm desk. In Compulsion, I also explored digital painting using Adobe Photoshop and a tablet. Working digitally expanded how I create and how audiences can view my work. I was able to make different versions of pieces and take more risks because if I made a mark that I did not like, I could press undo. In a time when art is increasingly being seen online with popularity in social media and a pandemic limiting in-person viewings of work, I thought learning more about digital art would be a great route. My work with Adobe Photoshop, and other tools like Adobe Premiere Pro for filming and editing videos, led me to Adobe Animate and Adobe After Effects. With these programs, I combine drawing, movement, frame composition, and camera angles, to animate stories.
When people hear OCD, many think about a person straightening crooked objects or wanting things in perfect order. The disorder is thrown around frequently in conversation and while Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can include the urge to arrange items in a specific manner, there is much more that cannot be seen by the human eye. People with OCD may have many repetitive and pestering thoughts invade their mind and have to do, say, or think certain things in order for these thoughts to go away. Art is a space to place a conversation centering around OCD because art is a visual form. An audience can actually see movement with brushstrokes and watch specific examples in a film.
My most recent project is a short animation centered around OCD and how many people are struggling with mental health which is not always visible to those around you. In the animation, I personify OCD and portray specific compulsions taken from my life experiences. The protagonist discovers a looking glass which shows other characters’ personifications including anxiety, depression, and Tourette Syndrome. The protagonist sees that they are not alone and everyone deals with an inner battle. Creating this animation has given me the chance to learn programs that I have wanted to experiment with for a long time. I can add Adobe Animate and After Effects to my list of accomplishments. However, the biggest take away for me is that I recognized my interest in a goal and taught myself entirely new skills as well as reached out to talented artists who could also offer help. Because of the subject matter that I explored this year, I have become more comfortable conversing about the importance of mental health when I previously kept my struggles to myself. I believe that it is good for people to know that others go through the same thing that they are dealing with and to talk about it openly.
Filmmaking, both animation and live action, fascinates me. I want to collaborate and contribute to making great films after graduation. I am a Semi-finalist for a Fulbright Scholarship where I would be teaching English at schools in Spain and doing an afterschool art and environment camp. I am currently waiting to hear back about whether I made it to the final stage of this opportunity. If this does not work in my favor, I will apply for internships and jobs for the upcoming Fall with companies like Disney, Warner Brothers, and Paramount Pictures.