I just found out that I’ve received admission to CalArts for their photo and media program, MICA for their Mount Royal Program, and UPenn’s Penndesign for the MFA in art. It’s truly a dream come true, especially since I talk about my work’s focus on Bipolar I disorder in the first paragraph of all my artist statements. In the CalArts statement, I even confessed that I spent the summer of 2012 in and out of hospitals and that my father committed suicide. They wanted me anyway.
So, honesty can work in your favor (and this is something I’m only realizing now). I was afraid when I first spoke about being Bipolar I via my work. But I’ve found it comforting that, as an artist, I am able to work with myself, even the sides of myself that I resent.
Only one person has ever said anything judgmental or hurtful related to my disorder. An ex-friend, that I had an altercation with, told me in response to my complaints about her and our friendship that I needed to switch my meds. But no one has questioned my abilities to function because of my disorder, and I’ve still been given opportunities such as my current E11:Sound residency with Transformer in DC, my curatorial project with Project 4 in DC (show opens May 17th) and now, admission to three of my dream schools.
I don’t think my life has gotten easier; I’ve still dealt with mood cycling, agitation, angst, suicidal ideations, hypermania, etc., since last summer, but I can manage myself better now, and I know how to create from those moods and therefore control them.
My art is not my therapy. I go to therapy once a week, and that is my therapy. My art is my attempt to sustain myself, create apathy, and make the dialogue surrounding mental health easier for others who have mood disorders. I hope that graduate school assists me in that mission, by helping me mature my concepts as well as my techniques.
One of the professors at UPenn asked me if I was interested in film. and I am, and so my current video project is a little more complex and taking longer to complete than usual. Hopefully I’ll have it up by the end of the week.