Thanks to Mad Matt Wolf from Horrifiction for putting this item on my radar.
Mental illness can be frightening—for those afflicted as well as their friends and families. As opposed to other illnesses and injuries, diseases of the mind are invisible to the naked eye. In a sense, mental illnesses are like creatures hiding in the shadows, ready to pounce without notice.
Artist Toby Allen has given these specters physical form in a series that imagines mental illnesses as monsters. This exercise can help those unfamiliar with depression (one example) understand what it feels like to those afflicted. Likewise, someone dealing with anxiety (another example) might benefit from a tangible view of an otherwise unmanageable abstraction.
Bringing these “monsters” out of the dark, casting light on them as physical entities, gives substance to these misunderstood conditions. It encourages dialog and eliminates the stigma of societal preconceptions. In a very real way, art can heal. It’s ironic, however, that so many artists and writers battle these fiends on a daily basis.
You can keep up with Toby Allen and see more work on his Facebook page: HERE.
What do you think of Toby Allen’s “Mental Illness Monsters”? Do you agree that art can promote healing and understanding? Sound off in the Comments section!
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