My name is Dez (AKA Loveartpix) & I am a self-taught Creative Artist from Manchester. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder over 10 years ago & more recently autism, a diagnosis I am now beginning to come to terms with & better understand.
From an early age I was interested in art and I went to art college after leaving school before dropping out. For a number of years I played around with editing on free apps on my phone and then I realised it really helps distract my mind when I am in a manic state or feel like I am loosing grip of my sanity. I now use digital editing as a coping strategy, something that has had a huge, positive impact on my life.
Every day I edit pictures, something that has become a massive part of my life – without my art I don’t know how I would cope! I create a lot of Manchester themed images & I also like to edit pictures on current, often taboo topics. I try to keep my artwork positive but I also use it to raise awareness of mental health issues, with a view to breaking down the stigma associated with this subject. Some of the pictures I have created can be interpreted as dark but they express my feelings & I hope others suffering in this way can feel like they are not alone. Creating these images can, in itself, be very stressful but the resulting artwork gives me an incredible sense of achievement – especially when others can relate!
I am an ambassador for a number of charities, having donated my art to raise awareness & fundraise. I am passionate about the fact my art can have a positive impact on the lives of others. Recently I have been working with Northern Rail and I now have artwork which is a permanent feature at Oxford Road train station in Manchester, bringing colour & positivity to the platforms & underpass. I also have my artwork featured at Manchester’s Heaton Park, & have some big projects coming up in Manchester in the future, bringing more positivity to the City I am proud to call home.
My webpage www.loveartpix.co.uk showcases my Manchester ‘Bees About Town’ collection as well as my other artwork. I use my platform as an Artist to show how much art helps with MY mental health & hope to help others going through similar struggles. I am particularly proud of this piece of writing about my image called The Weight.
I created this image in what I call a manic-high, negative state. I tried to describe some of the millions of things running through my mind at the same time and how I struggle to juggle them. Some of the stronger issues I have added are when I get fixated on death, represented by the skull – this has been a fixation I have had for as far back as I can remember. The young boy sat with his head in his hands represents the feeling of isolation & loneliness I have, something & that can last for hours at a time. The digital brain shows the logical & robotic way I operate & I put the NHS in the centre to show my frustration with the constant battle I experience as I attempt to make people understand my feelings. This also represents how I can appear cold & blunt due to feeling flat & empty – this can result in a perception by others that I am strong since I can say how I feel due to detachment of feelings.
The image of the broken family & dynamics within that show how it has a daily impact on my life. The word PAIN is blurred due to the merging of feelings that come with it – although I feel flat I have a deep feeling of anxiety as if I have been told that someone close has died! The theatre masks I added to show how I have learned to mask my problems & issues from an early age & only now am I learning to drop the mask to some degree through recent therapy with an amazing Psychologist. The clock shows how this can feel like it is endless – again, time is something I have had issues with since I was a young boy! Trying to grasp the concept of time creates massive anxiety for me & can make me ill – I am constantly thinking how can I do things faster or more efficiently? Balance is also a big issue – what is right & what is wrong? What we are taught & what is imbedded in ourselves, depicted by the Halo & devil horns & the Yin & Yang symbol. The medication between the good & bad struggle reflects how it can stop me from doing harm to myself when in these states. The diazepam I am prescribed just takes the edge off feelings of slipping into insanity which, along with other coping strategies help me deal with it.
Within the eye socket of the skull there is a silhouette of man falling which I put in to show how I can feel at the time, that it won’t stop, that it is endless. The binary numbers again represent the emotionless, robotic state in which I feel I think. I added the eye to show how I often feel myself staring motionless for periods of time due as I try to analyse my thoughts in an almost trance-like state. The lion roaring is when I feel like there is a sea of emotions screaming to get out but stay dormant. I put 1979 (the year I was born) in chains as in this state I can feel like I wish I hadn’t been born.
I wouldn’t normally try to explain in writing the depth of such a complex image I have created but this particular piece holds so much meaning & the process has helped me to understand my illness on a deeper level. I wanted to try this as an exercise to see if it would help! I felt anxious putting this into words but also stressed that each small sentence cannot begin to explain the severity & complexity of the feelings I go through having these episodes. Ultimately I believe that describing my feelings through a digital image AND words will help others going through similar battles realise that they are not alone.
So what does the future hold for Loveartpix? I am currently in the process of setting up a CIC with my partner in crime, Lisa Dunnington. We believe that we can use this as a vehicle to help others in the community through Art Therapy as well as raising awareness of issues that blight the world today. Watch this space, we have work to do to help make the world a better place for all!