Graphic Artist with Mental Illness (also new here)

Hello All!

Never used a form before today but since I am doing new things I figured why not jump right in. I have been running into a hurdle lately with my expression and was wondering if anyone else runs into the same issues. I am bipolar and I often find myself battling between progress I make mentally versus keeping my expression alive too.

I know some of it comes from having to run so many system diagnostics on myself constantly that I forget to let go and let be but I want to develop healthy ways to keep both going. I came across something last night that really struck a cord with me and it stated “your art or expression shouldn’t be something that’s forced every time and should flow like water”. Not the exact phrase but it is close enough. I get to this point often but usually after I have an episode and go through my manic. Its like fumbling in the dark to reconnect everything and I just cant get anything out or relax enough to.

Any pointers would be greatly appreciated! :]

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ddosx, I don’t know what you’re going through with bipolar. I know a few people that struggle with this, but, not having it myself, I won’t try to understand the challenges you face. But I can speak to one point you made.

“Your art or expression shouldn’t be something that’s forced every time and should flow like water.”

I wouldn’t say this is entirely true, but I suppose the word “every” is the qualifier for the statement.

There are times, when great ideas flow and the creative process – or expression – is free flowing. There are other times, however, you really have to work at it. So I wouldn’t get down on yourself or feel bad because there are times you are struggling to come up with the solution. That’s part of being a designer.

Sometimes it is said that there are 6 stages to a project:

  1. This is awesome.
  2. This is harder than it looks.
  3. This sucks.
  4. I suck.
  5. This isn’t bad.
  6. This is awesome.

Bottom line, hang in there, and don’t beat yourself up if you have to work for the ideas.

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Thank you for that insight Steve_O! Definitely going to burn those stages to my noggin haha. Seeing things like that help me set mental reminders/markers to kind of ease my thoughts once I do start getting to those parts of projects. I get so lost sometimes in the process especially if I am trying to channel what I am feeling or going through with bipolar to paper or words. Frustrating going through stuff like that and not really having the reigns on channeling the feelings all the time.

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Welcome to the forum Ddosx.

I don’t really have any pointers, but I do remember buying a book a few years ago titled Touched With Fire (I can’t seem to find it right now) on the subject of bipolar/manic-depressive illnesses and how they relate to creativity.

According to the book, the creative arts have a disproportionate number of people with bipolar illnesses — Van Gogh being the obvious example. The dark times seemingly give substance and direction to the explosion of creativity that can happen during the manic periods.

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I have to read this! I am going to see if I can find or buy a digital copy. I have been recently reading The Developing Ming by Daniel J. Siegel. Goes into the fundamental happenings of the brain and it gives me a lot of insight on just how the brain works and kind of gives me a blueprint almost to come up with more effective healthy coping mechanisms.

I looked a little harder through my book shelves and found my copy. If you’d like, I can send it to you — no charge. I’ve already read it and don’t need it. Besides, I have too many books taking up too much space. If you’re interested, send me a private message with your address and I’ll send it along.

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Welcome to the forums @ddosx :beers:

I’m going to be honest, I can’t really relate to the bipolar you’re facing; However I will say I have spent way too much of my life living in my head thinking about what I want to do and not actually doing it.

Now I try to look at everything as a challenge and to not fear the failure, but fear not learning the lesson because I was afraid to fail. And there’s definitely a self-awareness piece to this, and it takes some maturing and putting the ego on the shelf.

Maybe nothing I’ve said resonates with you or what you’re going through and that’s totally fine, just thought I would share my piece with you since you’re sharing yours.

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That is so awesome of you to offer! Its okay though, I have an app that I have credits on and I found it so I will report once I’ve dived in :]

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Hey Pluto!
No everything you’ve said is exactly on point! One thing I have adapted in my everyday life is a quote from an Allen Watts lecture I heard “Sometimes the fear won’t go away, so you’'ll have to do it afraid”. How have you transitioned that mindset into your work? I find that when I am clear enough I somewhat go into a trance and there is nothing else.

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That’s a good question. When it comes to my mindset around designing, I think the biggest revelation for me was a combination of these things:

  1. Accepting that what you put down on paper may not be as good as you invisaged the idea in your head and that, that’s ok (your idea probably wasn’t as good as you thought it was).
  2. Maybe I’m alone on this one, but I think I can only come up with a new idea once I get another idea out of my head (regardless of how stupid that idea is). I think of it like a deck of cards, I can only access the second card once I’ve picked up the first one (I know it’s totally crazy :crazy_face:!)

What’s your mindset when you approach your creative work?

I completely get what you mean on your second point! The first is to see if you can do it and then when you know you can all the ideas come out the wood works haha. That is what happened to me when I decided to learn how to draw faces in the beginning of quarantine.

My mindset is almost always scattered. It resembles someone trying to write in a language they can only speak. I know what I want to get out but I don’t know how exactly to do it and when I try I trip myself before I even start. So in light of that I developed a sort of trance like state I put myself in to when I really want to see what I can create. In my art I like bringing things that aren’t exactly “real” into existence and keeping that trance helps me hold the essence of what I am trying to manifest.

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Lockdown was so awesome for learning new stuff. Could spend all day learning to code and do graphic design. I think I came out of it a totally improved person with an entirely new focus.

That’s interesting about your trance, do you that could be similar to Csikszentmihalyi’s “flow state?”

Also what kinda stuff do you make?

I had never heard of Csikszentmihalyi until now but yes that is exactly what happens!

Honestly I am all over the place but these are the results of practicing faces with my twist
92700822_2686830408105950_2102314608029186742_n|640x640 91983481_662330524531900_9119043799793473237_n

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These are very nice! I like them.

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They’re cool man, where do you derive your inspiration from?

I honestly do not know. I will most of the time envision a word or feeling and then let my hand go and explore and see what happens. But once the idea starts to form I can follow.

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These are pretty cool! Good job man, I see that you have talent and hope that other people can see. You should try to sell those. You´re so creative that is like the thing that I don´t have, keep up with your work.

Thank you! Seriously means a lot hearing. I would love to sell them but that part of creation for me is very under developed. I don’t know where to start when it comes to selling.

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I quite like them as well.

I don’t know what local crafting events might be in your area or how up for something like that you might be … but that is always an option. We have things here like Christmas in July or we just had one called A little Hocus Pocus. All our local crafters go to them … and by that I mean Bakers, Artists, folks who work with yarn and or fabric, Soap Makers, Jewelry makers, etc. That might be a little overwhelming just starting out though and a lot of new Covid restrictions are in place.

Something else that might be worth looking into is Etsy. I know it’s not ideal … but it might get your feet wet in the selling department.

Just a thought I had :slight_smile: Good luck with everything.

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I agree! Cool!

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