Art About Pain
In 2013 I started exploring the theme of pain in my artwork, in particular my experience of living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). How do you explain pain that is so severe that it takes over your life? Words often seem inadequate but with art I can create a visual language to describe my pain and express my thoughts and emotions. My CRPS story can be found on my website www.crps247.com
The Language of Pain
In this series of etchings above I have used a variety of symbols and graphic shapes which is how I visualize my pain; it is always hovering in the space around me, lurking overhead waiting to strike without warning, it strikes swiftly like a shot from a gun, the impact is penetrating, intense and electric. These pains often continue for hours and at their worst are accompanied by a severe throbbing pain that radiates deep into the foot.
Paintings & Prints
The 'Spaced' Out Series
These drawings and etchings above relate to the experiences of my first in hospital Ketamine infusion for pain management. Perceptions of space became mildly distorted and I felt spaced out (a drug side effect). The random images you sometimes see pre-sleep were quite vivid and the drawings were based on one of these images. The focal point of the image was an unusual blue shape that kept moving in and out of the picture plane, I introduced small floating globules symbolizing the NMDA receptors that Ketamine targets in order to turn off the pain signals; the red symbolizes the pain and gold symbolizes the value of this drug to block the pain signals.
Preliminary Drawings for the Language of Pain Etchings
Looking for a Reason, 3 Monotypes
Black Dog Crossing
Early 2013 I decided to try to express what was really going in my life relating to Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Black Dog Crossing is based on a real dog I photographed one day, it was a dark day in my life, a day when everything changed and the world around me became temporarily blurred. The dog became a reminder of that point in time and as I was working on this etching I remembered that the black dog also symbolizes depression and this seemed appropriate. What looks whimsical on the surface masks a darker meaning and the picture is open to interpretation; for me it is about a difficult journey, the ladder running up the side of the tall building, the dog on the tightrope-all seemingly impossible obstacles.