Artist Biographies

Si Clark

Si Clark was born in Cheltenham in the UK in 1982 and currently lives in London. When he moved to London in 2006 he began
experiencing strange experiences, racing thoughts, extremely fast mood swings, paranoia and delusions. After going to his local GP about these problems he began on a long road to getting a diagnosis by seeing a variety of different
professionals until he was finally diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder-manic type. In the United States it would be called schizoaffective disorder bipolar type. He continues to get severe mood swings which can go from manic to crushing lows within the same day. His paranoia is fuelled by a general mistrust of everyone and a disassociation from society which is slowly making him more and more withdrawn socially. Visual hallucinations are generally shadowy figures which mainly appear in his peripheral vision and other blurred objects zooming across his eyes. Auditory hallucinations consist of blurred voices and experiences which can only be described as waking nightmares. He also struggles with extremely violent unwanted thoughts. He is currently with a specialised team of psychologists, psychiatrists, and art and occupational therapists and is taking anti-psychotic medication and mood stabilisers which he has difficulty staying on for a long period of time due to a strong self-destructive side.His artwork is his life. He works as a freelance illustrator/animator and when he is not working he spends his free time creating his own personal artwork. His personal artwork is cathartic, getting the demons out of his head and onto paper. He finds it almost impossible to describe his experiences in words so art is the easiest way for him to communicate what he is going through. Music is another vitally important part of his life. Noise, drone, dark ambient and other types of experimental music help both his artwork and his mental well being.

David Feingold

David FeingoldDavid Feingold was born 1951 in Chicago, IL. Ever since he was a child, he was
interested in art—pencil and pen-and-ink drawing, in particular. He says, “I always
had an open mind and imagination and was convinced that there is much more to
life than meets the eye.” He points to art to prove the point. David struggled all
through public school, due to what he now sees as having had some learning disabilities. David says, “Teachers were not all that knowledgeable about how to work with kids with special learning needs and who could think outside the box.
David became a visual designer and after 10 years, made a major change by going back to school to study social work. After working 15 years in the field, he’s familiar with how important staying on medication is for keeping his bipolar and seizure disorders under control. David’s disorders stem from a closed head injury when he was hit by a car as a pedestrian in his teens. He feels as though his bipolar and seizure disorders have been kept in check now for a number of years thanks to modern medicine, a great psychiatrist, supportive family members, and sheer determination. He is being treated with Lamotrigine 150mg/bid, Divalproex Sodium 250mg, Fluoxetine 20mg.
David is interested in breaking the stigma of mental illness and bringing attention of the inner struggles and challenges of those with disabilities to public awareness. He says, “A little empathy goes a long way, not only in respecting those with disabilities, but in preparing themselves or a loved one, should there ever come a day when they become disabled.” Four years into a Doctoral program in Disability Studies at National-Louis University has given David the knowledge and insight as to the ways society places physical, environmental limitations and psychological roadblocks in the way of people with impairments. Feingold describes those processes as ableism, which is as dangerous and destructive a practice as racism, sexism and ageism. Finally, Feingold is a firm believer in the validity and necessity of artwork that pushes the envelope of visual descriptive feelings by those with mental and physical impairments. Sugarcoating visuals doesn’t teach non-disabled people about those painful moments of being confronted with one’s own impairments and disabilities. The purpose of such visuals is not to shock, but to enlighten and to continue building a bridge toward understanding, empathy and acceptance.

Charles Goodloe

Charles GoodloeCharles Thomas Goodloe was born 1974 and raised in Dunwoody, Georgia a suburb outside of Atlanta. When Charles was a child he saw dark visions and illuminated visions and ran from things that weren't there. When he was a young boy he had a lot of freedom to let his mind wander and wonder about what life was all about. He always remembers seeing the devil himself when he was five years old and running as fast as he could until he got to my home, his safety zone. While cycling and skateboarding he had some accidents and incurred some brain trauma but he never thought he would be diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder bipolar type. “The road is rough, the turns are hairpins, but there are moments of complete visionary bliss that I wouldn't trade for anything. There are also moments of pure hell which I choose to try to conquer, and now I view my medication differently than I did when I was first diagnosed. Now I am capable of numerous things and have stability in my life. The darkness and illumination still remain but now I have a belief system that I too shall remain.” Charles now has a way to express himself and describe his thoughts and feelings through his art. It has provided him a way to communicate to others the immense amount of pain and struggle that people with mental illness go through. “Some of my work is darker than others and some more illuminated. But all in all I thank all those who have contributed to my life and wish we all could look through the doors of perception to better understand the beautiful mind and all of its creations. Peace.

Krista C. Graham

Krista C. GrahamKrista Graham was born in Lexington, Kentucky in July of 1988. She has endured many traumatic events as a child, including two divorces with the same parents, child abuse, and a mother in prison. Her mother was released from jail sober, but quickly became addicted once again. Krista showed early signs of childhood onset of mental illness. At age 7 she would lock herself in the closet and pray to die. By age 14 her record at school, along with her social life and reputation went down the drain as the unnamed illness became worse. Once an “outstanding student” was now looked upon as a criminal due to some vandalism and selling her mother’s prescription drugs. After two suicide attempts she became known as “that crazy girl”. She had some counseling and was thought to have bipolar disorder but the doctor and counselor had problems diagnosing a 16 year old. At the age of 20 she tried to get off of her antidepressant venlafaxine, and suffered extreme mania and a sudden major depression. Then the diagnosis was made that she was bipolar with psychotic symptoms. Also taking into consideration she has a family history of manic depression, she at 21 is in therapy and working to finding the right combination of medication to get her stablized. She is currently on Lamotrigine, Aripiprazole, Escitalopram Oxalate and Hydroxyzine for sleep. Krista is presently attending college and majoring in art education.

Philippa King

Philippa KingPhilippa King was born April, 1981 in Reading, England. She was diagnosed with bipolar-type schizoaffective disorder. She became seriously ill at the age of sixteen, however, the roots of her mental health difficulties can be traced back to her early childhood. She was Sectioned (involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital) in 2002 at the age of twenty one, and seven years since then, she is still not well. In spite of the medication she takes she still experiences deep depressions, explosive mania, destructive mixed moods, psychosis, and schizophrenic symptoms which are sometimes accompanied by self-injury and suicide attempts. Philippa is a painter using traditional media. She says, "I am entirely self-taught and painting for me has grown from a mere hobby to a full-time passion." Critical of the mental health care system in the UK she would like to see it be more responsive to the needs of the individual and the mental health community at large. At present Philippa is not in therapy. She is being treated with antipsychotic and anticonvulsant medication.

John Poole

John PooleBorn in Seattle in 1953 John Poole was diagnosed at the age of seventeen with "cyclical depression" which is understood today as part of the bipolar spectrum. He was hospitalized for evaluation and treated with the antidepressant imipramine. Although it relieved the symptoms of depression the side effects were intolerable and he stopped taking it and ended the relationship with his psychiatrist. He continued to suffer depressive episodes when mania started to become apparent to those around him. At about this time he started to take a serious interest in drawing, painting and photography. In 1979 he married. His wife soon become alarmed at his behavior. On her insistence, he again underwent psychiatric evaluation. Although he did not exhibit violent behavior the doctors warned her of the potential danger. Their relationship never recovered from this event and John left her and his infant son. This was the start of a downward spiral for him. He had abandoned his family, he had confused and angered his friends, he had no job, felt alienated, and turned to drugs and alcohol and frequently felt suicidal. Over the years John accumulated a growing body of art work, however, none of it survived his frustration and depression. In 1981 John made a trip to New Orleans, Louisiana where he now lives with his second wife. She has lived through the difficult times with him, through his constant reinvention of himself, his addictions and his unbalanced moods. What survives is their respect and love for each other. He was hospitalized a second and third time with dual-diagnosis (bipolar disorder/drug addiction) most recently in 2007. He has sustained a positive relationship with a psychiatrist and is being treated with a combination of Lamotrigine 150mg, Escitalopram Oxalate 20mg, Quetiapine Fumarate 800mg, Chlordiazepoxide 25mg/qid, and Levothyroxine 100mcg. In 1990 he switched from traditional materials to creating his imagery digitally.

Emma Price

Emma PriceEmma was born in 1982 and lives in Staffordshire, England with her two dogs “Bonny” and “Gypsy”. She has had a love of making art since early childhood, and was greatly encouraged as a child by her father who is a very talented self-taught artist. She grew up on her parent's wildlife sanctuary and would spend many hours as a youngster sketching and painting images of the beautiful scenery in which she lived and the wild animals with whom she was privileged to spend much time. At 17 Emma joined the British Army and spent nearly 3 years as a medic. Due to the demanding nature of this occupation she had little time to devote to her artwork during service. This is when she first began to experience periods of major depression and extreme emotional lability, but due to the macho 'squaddie' culture and for fear of loosing her job she did not seek help. However when her mother became ill Emma was forced to leave the forces in order to care for her, which she did for many months, and as a result of this experience and her previous medical training, she decided to pursue a nursing career in civilian life. She continued to experience severe mood swings and depression — now with visual and auditory hallucinations, anxiety and increasing paranoia — and eventually sought help for her worsening mental health issues.
She was eventually diagnosed with bipolar 1 and “affective disorder” and over the course of the next few years was placed on numerous medication regimes and was under the care of many psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors and other mental health “experts”, but these professional relationships repeatedly broke down due to differences of opinion and she found the side-effects of many medications intolerable so discontinued using them. As a result, she was soon without any professional support and “self-medicating” heavily with recreational drugs. After qualifying as a nurse Emma found a job in a hospice, providing care to those with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones, and it was through her involvement in art therapy groups for those in her care that she rediscovered her love of art and its therapeutic value. Unfortunately as the symptoms of her mental illness became progressively worse and her mental state deteriorated further, she found it increasingly difficult to function on a day to day basis. Her erratic and destructive behavior caused the breakdown of her long-term (8 year) relationship and the dissolution of many friendships. She also developed a severe social phobia, becoming very isolated and ultimately was unable to continue working as a nurse.
By this time Emma was addicted to illicit chemicals and was also struggling with self-harm, which generally took the form of severely cutting her arms and body with razor blades. She also made several suicide attempts. As a result she was hospitalized several times, generally due to severe depression. She took up art again during one such period of convalescence and has continued to use it as “medicine” ever since, finding creativity to be, for her much more beneficial than prescribed or street pharmaceuticals or “talking therapies”, although she continues on an adjusted regime of psychiatric medication. Emma is hoping in the future to be able to make a living as a full time artist when her condition is better controlled.

Kyle Reynolds

Kyle ReynoldsKyle Reynolds was born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada in 1976 and has lived there his entire life. At a young age he experienced now what he would consider strange ideations but as a child thought nothing of it. When he was 16 the full effects of schizoaffective disorder (bipolar type) took a firm grip on his life. He experienced auditory, visual, and even olfactory hallucinations. He thought he could read minds and the television was giving him secret messages. Thankfully he was medicated quickly and recovered. All that remained was the issue of mood which like as a child assumed everyone else was going through. Luckily for Kyle he was put on a drug that helped with psychosis and mood. Art has become a means for him to communicate some of his experiences in life that can't be explained by any other means.

Laura Thykeson

Laura Thykeson was born in Ft. Worth. Texas in 1960. As a child she experienced mood swings, severe anxiety, shyness and auditory hallucinations that she thought were normal. Her mother was in and out of mental hospitals and had several suicide attempts as she was growing up. Laura often didn't go to school because of crippling anxiety that caused physical symptoms both real and imagined. She did very poorly in school, but was found to have a very high IQ. By 1982, she had been married and divorced multiple times, had two children and had a period of drug and alcohol abuse in her history. During 1984, she began to seek treatment for extreme depression with a GP, only to be put on a tranquilizer, which controlled the manic highs, but made the depression worse. She also suffers from social anxiety, as well as paranoia of most people and is extremely sensitive to any tension around her. She has been suicidal and hospitalized several times, and finally diagnosed with bipolar diosorder and schizophrenia in 2000. Thus followed a long list of different medications and hospitalizations. Finally, she found a new doctor and a new combination medication, Symbyax (Olanzipine and Fluoxetene) as well as Depakote 500mg, that keeps her semi-stable and still allows the creative and artistic side of her to come out. Laura has been interested in art since a child, but really discovered art in her 30's and is self-taught. She has been a practicing artist for 20 years, with her art slowly evolving from fine art and oil painting, into a more raw and expressive, mixed media, more expressive of her illness. She is constantly trying to show to others how the disease "feels and looks", although she is still struggling with being "guarded" from society and the stigma she feels is associated with mental illness. She credits her husband of 10 years for helping her to both deal with and understand her highs and lows. Laura has gone through therapy several times, but is not in therapy at this time. Laura used to work successfully outside the home, but now is secluded most of the time, going days and sometimes weeks without leaving her house. She distrusts almost everyone emotionally, and rarely shares her true feelings with anyone except her husband. Her mood swings most drastically around every three to six months, with small swings in between, along with auditory hallucinations and insomnia that are continuous. She sometimes suffers extremely violent type thoughts as well as ocassional visual hallucinations, has OCD, and will become totally obsessed with thoughts, songs, counting, and other things that she will repeat over and over. Art, poetry and writing are her constant release and source of channeling these unwanted and exhaustive rituals.

Jeff Woodall

Jeff WoodallJeff Woodall was born in 1972 and lives in Sterling, Virginia. From an early age he had a talent for looking at something and drawing it. During his elementary school years he did poorly in class. He made few friends and remembers being depressed most of the time. He was suicidal at an early age. His temper would often end up in fights. The school psychologist initially said he was mentally retarded, but after taking tests it was discovered he was highly intelligent. During his middle school and high school years he became interested in fantasy literature and games. The artwork in the books fascinated him. It provided inspiration for his artwork.
After high school he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served five years. He became involved in athletics, especially swimming. He ran into disciplinary problems for suicide threats and violent outbursts. During this time he made attempts at drawing but his skills remained at his junior high school level. After the Navy he spent a number years working as a lifeguard and swim instructor but was never able to work at a full time job due to his unstable behavior. His mood swings were noticeable to his wife and friends. But his symptoms didn't seem extreme to him so he didn't take them seriously. Jeff then enrolled at a community college taking courses in illustration and graphic design. He became a fairly skilled illustrator. In 2002 Jeff began working as a desktop publisher, enjoyed the work, and held the job for a few years. Initially things went well. But as time passed his mood swings became progressively worse. He spent weeks in deep depressions with suicidal ideation and at other times had flashes of erratic behavior. He become delusional and went for days with little sleep. He withdrew from friends and family and blamed his problems on stress. He refused medical attention. In 2006 a close friend of Jeff's died tragically triggering a serious depression followed by an extreme manic episode. He walked out of the desktop publishing job returning to teach swimming and lifesaving and doing some graphic design work from home. At this point his wife finally convinced him that there was something wrong and he needed help. A psychiatrist diagnosed bipolar disorder I and he was prescribed an Quetiapine Fumarate 300mg. In a couple of weeks his symptoms subsided and he was able to focus on his art more than ever before.
Regarding his artwork he says, "When depressed I do illustrations of cats, women, and lonely haunted looking scenes, when manic I tend to do weird looking creatures, like something out of a Lovecraft novel. When I am drawing I am so absorbed that afterward my moods seems less extreme. I think drawing as part of my therapy. Looking back on my life I was fortunate I never got involved with drugs or heavy drinking." He currently lives with his wife and cats, working as a pool manager and does illustration work.