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(interview by James Giaquinto)
“I’ve been with The Painted Brain approximately ten years. It’s a great organization that helped me come out of my shell. I was struggling, and through art, I found my voice, so I’m doing a lot more art now. I met Dave when we started with little groups, and we moved on to big things, and the community started to grow around it.”
“My art is not genre-specific. It’s about the people, places and things in my past and different, random images I see in my brain, like bunnies and stuff. It’s like pop graffiti and a lot like Keith Haring. It’s a lot of figures of people and things in life.”
“Painted Brain offers me a platform to show and sell my work, and it erases all stigma of mental health issues and makes me feel like I belong. Other galleries don’t have that aspect to them. They don’t understand the stigma and they have a lot of stigmas too.”
“Inside Voices means all those voices in your head that tell you, “You can’t do this, you can’t say this.” There is a bunch of negative voices going in my head at all times. Inside Voices also means people from the outside trying to quiet you from speaking. So it’s like you’re trapped between two voices, outer voice and inner voice, and you feel like you can’t express yourself sometimes. But you got to break through that. It’s really hard, with mental illness, to do that. The Painted Brain helps me, through art, to express that, to express myself. For the exhibit, I have this idea of a giant butterfly. Butterflies mean growth to me and they transform from caterpillar to butterfly. I have a giant one I’m going to put in the show. It’s like an aluminum butterfly made from a sign.”
“I hope to gain more freedom of expression through this experience, more confidence in my art and more exposure. People should come to the show so that can see how someone with mental illness can express themselves. It’s a fun, whimsical mode I’m in when I’m doing it, and I hope they feel that in the art. Inside Voices doesn’t mean you have to be quiet in the gallery. I want everyone to touch the pieces, feel the pieces and express themselves, and it’ll help me express myself when they express themselves.”
Inside Voices, an exhibition of original art by Painted Brain artists-in-residency Amer Azad, Lawrence Rozner, Bugk23609, Tristan Scremin, Jesus Matias and Ashley Cherry will be held on May 9th, 2015 @ 7pm
Monkspace, 4414 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90004
While admission is free, all donations will be met with undying gratitude
Food and live music will be part of the festivities, so plan to arrive early and stay late.
For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amer Azad is a long-standing member and artist-in-residence at The Painted Brain. His work, along with that of five others, will be featured in the upcoming Inside Voices exhibition at Monk Space in Los Angeles, May 2015.