Jessica Smith


Surface and Form

My work is a reflection of the darker elements of mental health, predominantly focusing on the effects and symptoms. I’m strongly connected to my work due to my own experience with Psychosis, which I used as a reference point alongside other people’s experiences to influence my work. There is extreme stigma and fear surrounding mental disorders that aren’t as accepted as Depression and Anxiety - suffers of these “darker” conditions are often perceived as dangerous, and therefore lack support and access to treatment. They are seen as their symptoms before they are people.

To show these themes, I used techniques like deconstruction; I used this as a vessel to carry the different reality some sufferers experience. I also chose to use hand rendered imagery of demonic figures, inspired by my own hallucinations and delusions and aesthetically influenced by Jacques Callot’s etching The Temptation of St Anthony. This is surrounded by embroidered sound-wave interpretations of audio clips of screaming – something I and many others heard as a part of auditory hallucinations. Further on I decided to use knit to signify the way the mentally ill are seen to be unravelling, twisted.