So guess what happened to me this spring?
Yep, I graduated from college. After 5 years, 2 summers, 1 study abroad, and 1 internship, I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts and a minor in writing.
Before that major life event, I only spent the previous few months creating my first semi-solo show for my senior art exhibit; the culmination of all my years of study and only the most stressful thing ever. For my show I wanted to work closely with ideas that meant a lot to me in recent years. The two things that floated up to the top were Atheism and Mental Illness. I’ll feature each of my project pieces in a series of posts to come. But for now, you can read my main Artist’s Statement below:
College, as it is for many, has been a journey of personal discovery. In recent years this has led me to my discovery of my lack of belief in religious superstition and the waxing and waning of mental illness. The act of leaving Christianity when I was also struggling with anxiety made things especially difficult. Even though this decision was very personal, the act of leaving religion is a large act of extroversion and took bravery when stepping away from community and sometimes friends and family. Turning to atheism especially, still gathers a negative social stigma that makes being an introvert even more challenging.
However, in having these realizations near simultaneously in my life has only made me stronger as I am more able to engage with others. Proclaiming my atheism showed me that I am strong enough to be myself without the overbearance of mental illness. Turing to atheism and rejecting the thought of an afterlife or eternal reward has made my one life, my only chance, all the more precious to live as my fullest self, to champion my depression and anxieties and be me.
In this body of work I document and share personal internal thoughts in a way that I hope everyone can view and experience with thought. In viewing art, we are often drawn to make comparisons to our own lives, but I encourage viewers to also try stepping out of themselves and into a different paradigm. I offer these personal experiences for viewers to engage with and hopefully find a new way of navigating belief systems and personal struggle.