Time, memory, identity, surrealism, and mental health are the fundamental elements throughout my body of work.
Monochromatic scenery with elapsed gaps explores the visual representation of living with a mental illness. After living through a traumatic event, I often found myself in bed for days or weeks on end. Time itself ceases as a concept when faced with trauma.
Radical Acceptance is a creative visual representation of my experience with dissociation, memory, identity in the face of trauma, and self-acceptance. While Radical Acceptance is only a vignette of a chapter in my life, the audience is invited into a linear and illogical world within the real world.
My narrative work is infused with several experimental elements. Throughout Radical Acceptance, the audience is challenged to decipher what is real or simply an illusion throughout the film. Reality is challenged to be illogical and nonlinear. The conjoined story fragments further challenge the viewer to form a narrative linkage.
Currently, my film exists on the border of realism and surrealism. Cinematography, dialogue, and disembodied music create a sense of familiarity in an illogical world. The narrative and thematic design of a character facing a moral dilemma themselves force the audience to attach themselves to the story. The juxtaposition of monochromatic and vibrant surrealism scenery and characters represents the varied views one may have when living with a mental illness. While the main characters in this film are a portrayal of myself, I want the viewer to feel a connection and be able to see an abstract portrayal of themselves or someone they may know who is living with a mental illness.
The artistic and creative approach I took throughout the process of making this film was very tedious and time-consuming. I chose frame-by-frame animation so I could have full control over the creative process of how each frame would transition to the next along with using this tedious process as a metaphor for the underlying concept of what it’s like to live with an invisible illness. While the final product may seem seamless, the creative process is extremely labor-intensive. Individuals who live with an invisible illness are often perceived as fully functional, but personally experience a more mentally intensive struggle to be perceived as “normal” or “functional”.
The creative and artistic influence in this piece derives from Vincent Van Gogh. Inspired by Van Gogh’s Post Impressionism paintings, I created the memory bulbs and stars in the collective memory realm mimicking his brushwork with a digital oil brush. Furthermore, I wanted to incorporate the use of psychological art that is seen throughout Van Gogh’s work. The surrealistic use of color, visual elements, and disembodied sound throughout the film give the viewer a cognitive and emotional reaction.
Overall, I want this short film to be relatable to the audience. Mental illness is often described as an “invisible illness”. By creating a visual representation of my own experience with mental health struggles, I hope that the topic of mental health can become less stigmatized.