[237130, A3] Wk 10: Weekly Project Development
I utilised key words and phrases from the brainstorm I created in Week 9 to research different representations of the stigma of mental illness by artists and designers.
The strategy I found most common in trying to combat stigma surrounding mental illness was by attempting to make the audience understand the experiences of sufferers. By communicating the experience through visual media, the artists utilise empathy between the audience and the sufferers to combat stigma.
This led me to the genre referred to as ‘Outsider Art’. Outsider art is the art produced by marginalised communities, or by people attempting to give the marginalised a voice through depicting their experiences in visual or creative media (Tischler). In the case of mental illness, exhibitions are curated by collecting works by people experiencing mental illness (Fullerton). The goal of this is to celebrate them as artists in their own right, and not as people to be pitied.
The exhibition of Outsider Art in China has helped alleviate the stigma faced by people afflicted by mental illness, a subject which has long been taboo, particularly in rural areas (Fullerton).
Outsider Art can also take a more informative stance, as it often does in art shared across social networking mediums such as Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and so forth. In these works, artists take advantage of the mass exposure the media platform gives them to educate the public and correct misrepresentations.
A good example of this is the series entitled ‘Real Monsters’ by Toby Allen, which depict various mental illnesses as illustrated monsters (Allen). These include descriptions of the behaviours of the monsters, which educate the audience on the effect of the mental illness.
Another good example of Outsider Art is the following stop-motion video created by Lisa Buttery, Tom Slater and Sam Taylor; depicting self-harm and the recovery process in simple visual terms (Buttery). The video is particularly powerful due to the first-person voice-over telling on of the artist’s own story of her struggle with self-harm. The informational approach to the artwork has a similar effect of breaking down stigma through education.
Of a different genre of art challenging stigma against mental illness, satirical art is highly effective as it displays the absurdities of these misconceptions. The wit present in these depictions express the frustration that comes with the stereotyping of people afflicted with mental illness, and use humour to make the message more easily accepted by an audience. An excellent example of this is the work by Celeste Mountjoy – working under the pseudonym Filthyratbag – who tackles many taboo subjects such as depression, anxiety, female nudity and sexuality, alcoholism and body image through satirical cartoons (Mountjoy).
I appreciate this method of challenging stigma of mental illness, because the humorous dimension makes them more accessible to a wider audience.
I have yet to be able to find any creative media specifically challenging the depictions of the mentally ill in the entertainment industry.
- Allen, Toby. Real Monsters. 2013. Web. 24 June 2016. <http://www.zestydoesthings.com/realmonsters>.
- Fullerton, Jamie. “How Outsider Art Is Breaking Down Walls Around Mental Illness In China.” 3 November 2015. Vice News. Web. 24 June 2016. <https://news.vice.com/article/how-outsider-art-is-breaking-down-walls-around-mental-illness-in-china>.
- L’s Story. Dir. Buttery, Lisa et. al.. Perf. Lisa Buttery. 2015. Web. <https://vimeo.com/100257210>.
- Mountjoy, Celeste. Filthyratbag: Celeste Mountjoy. 2015. 24 June 2016. <https://filthyratbag.carbonmade.com/>.
- Tischler, Victoria. “Outsider Art Can Refashion How We Think About Mental Illness.” 20 January 2015. The Conversation. 24 June 2016. <http://theconversation.com/outsider-art-can-refashion-how-we-think-about-mental-illness-36439>.
Creative Work & Development
I’d like to try and take a satirical angle to my representation of the stigma surrounding mental health in the entertainment industry. I also wonder if ‘the entertainment industry’ is too broad a subject, and as such it may be wiser to focus specifically on the depictions in film and television.
Comparing the above formats I’ve seen and imagined would work well in satirical art of the stigma of mental illness, I’d like to work with satirical movie posters which challenge the damaging stereotypes which the entertainment industry perpetuates. As such, I feel Adobe Photoshop would be the best medium to work with, in order to make the poster appear convincing until the audience reads the text on it more closely.
By looking at the posters featured in the blog post in Week 9, I established some trends in elements of design in movie posters. By using this same format for my false movie posters, I hope to make them look realistic until the audience reads them more closely.
I will make several designs for movie posters, and pick 1-2 to make in Photoshop for my final product.
Social Stigma: The negative attitudes against a group of people based off stereotypes of the group of people. Stereotypes most often spring from misinterpretation or lack of education for the public. The reactions of the public in response to the stereotypes is the root of social stigma. The group of people who experience social stigma are often marginalised within their communities.
Revolution: The result of a large group of people attempting to force change in an unwilling governing body.
Globalisation: The bridging of socio-cultural divides on a global scale. This is facilitated through the emergence of the internet, and is hotly debated due to the positive and negative effects of globalisation; i.e. globalisation would increase literacy on a global scale due to the availability of information. However, the need to access information is causing a tendency towards establishing a global language, resulting in extinction of local languages and loss of cultural diversity.