Since the early 1970s, Bobby Baker has been producing art that documents and subverts her experiences of everyday life, drawing on motherhood, domestic labour, and mental illness and recovery. Speaking to Lydia Ashman, Baker reflects on the challenges she faced as a woman and an artist, her successes and why she’s ‘proudest of keeping going’.
Arts and Mental Health - a-n The Artists Information Company
When artist and writer Alistair Gentry first shared his experiences of depression earlier this year it resulted in a flood of private feedback and led a-n to commission a series on artists and mental health for our Resources section. Drawing on the conversations he’s had with artists and arts workers, he argues for more openness about mental illness and wellness in the arts.
Based on conversations with artists, Alistair Gentry reflects on the stigma that still exists around mental health, and discusses some of the coping strategies artists use in their work and careers when affected by mental health problems.
In this guide Alistair Gentry offers guidance on what support is available for artists and others with mental health problems.
London-based artist Liz Atkin creates work both in response to and as way of coping with compulsive skin picking. Alistair Gentry finds out more about her art practice, and the advocacy and education work she undertakes to help others understand and deal with this and other body-focused repetitive behaviour conditions.
The Bethlem Gallery in Bromley provides a professional platform for artists who have experienced mental health difficulties. Alistair Gentry speaks to the gallery’s director Beth Elliot about the organisation and how it fosters a supportive artist-focussed environment.
Hospital Rooms is an arts and mental health charity that believes in the enduring power of the arts to instil value, dignity and wellbeing in people. Alistair Gentry speaks to Curator Niamh White about how the project enables access to art and culture for people using secure and locked mental health services.
Do the pressures of being an artist, with the precariousness of funding, the demands of unrealistic deadlines and the need to be seen to succeed and deliver consistently, make talking about depression and mental health tantamount to career suicide? Artist and writer Alistair Gentry, who has suffered with depression since a teenager, thinks the answer is ‘Yes’ – but that the issue is too important to keep quiet about.