My artwork deals with what many would consider a sensitive, sometimes even taboo, subject: mental illness. Since childhood I have struggled with both anxiety and depression and I understand well how the stigma and misunderstandings of these illnesses can cause people to feel ostracized. You begin to feel as if your illness is an “other” that lives inside of you and dictated your life. This is where the second component of my artwork comes in. For many years I have been fascinated by werewolf mythology and fiction, and how transformation can be a metaphor. In my work I use the image of the werewolf to symbolize the internal struggle of living with a mental illness. My goal is to help people understand these illnesses from the perspective of the person suffering. These images depict feelings of anger, hopelessness, and despair. The scale is larger than most illustrations I have made before to emphasize how overwhelming living with such a condition can be. The lines are fast, rough, and violent, just like the episodes of anxiety and depression that have inspired them. I chose black ink as my medium to give my work a range of gray values to represent the darkness that depression imprints on the human experience.
The title and theme were inspired by the song "The Undertow" by Lamb of God www.youtube.com/watch?v=rM0TnS…
I am the one who's left to take the fall
I fight the constant undertow
Image (c) K. Pennington
Please don't use without permission.