I would like to call myself an artist. Art is something I need in my life. However, I do not follow the harmful “requirement” that I let my art kill me. I don’t eat, sleep, and bleed art. Does it stress me out? Yes. Does it cause panic attacks? Yes. Have I had more emotional breakdowns in this semester than I have in a year? Absolutely. Does that mean I’m letting my art kill me? No. It just means that even with all of the mental instability, creating art is something that is worth it all.
I’ve focused on my mental illness in my art for quite some time now as it is something I cannot escape. It is something that will never leave me so I look to explore it in a healthy and creative way and maybe even take some people along for the ride. I want remove the shame often associated with mental illness. I am not trying to romanticize my illness but to admire that I have come this far whilst dealing with it.
Working with cast aluminum, bronze, and iron has been the best and worst experience for me in my life as an artist so far. Almost every process it took to lead up to the act of pouring and every process it took to finish my works lead to exhaustion beyond the physical plane. The smells, the sounds, and the sensations of sand, the vibration of grinding metal, and the heat of flames left me in a state of sensory overload and in turn anxiety attack almost every time. I learned the art of stepping away from my work eve when I knew I was low on time.
Even with all of these struggles, I think this is the best sculptural work I’ve done in my life so far. I still have a long way to go both mentally and educationally, but I am very happy with the present.
Brittany Belvette : Junior Foundry Fall 2016
National Casting Center Foundry @ Alfred