Monday, April 14, 2014

Building a Meme Community around Dysthymia

As I near the end of my senior year of college, I've found that I am most concerned with the presence of unnecessary suffering in the world. One of the ways this manifests is through mental illness, which  is what I chose to focus on for my relational aesthetics piece.

My own experiences with depression has led me to be interested in the experiences of others, and conveying that experience in an accurate, poignant, and artistic way. For this project, I snooped around the clinical depression forum of, which is a useful online resource for anyone looking for support. I read through topics and picked quotes from anonymous users that I felt that I, and other people suffering from depression, could resonate with. All of the users were anonymous, and the comments were all made in a public forum, making them free for public use. Specifically, I looked in the topics related to dysthymia, which is also known as chronic depression. Though the symptoms of dysthymia are less severe than those of major depression, the symptoms often last for a greater length of time and the effects that it has on a person's life can be equally devastating. 

I was absorbed into this project, and it allowed me to reflect on my own experience with dysthymia. It also revealed to me that many aspects of my experience were similar to those of other people, which helped to validate some of my thoughts as well as make me feel less isolated. This project was a great way for me to express my interest in hand lettering as well. I hope in the future to do more art projects related to mental illness since it is one of the biggest inspirations behind my art. You can see the rest of my works here.


  1. I loved this idea. I think this is such a powerful concept. When people create art with chronic disease, they often are over dramatic, but I think you've done quite a lovely job.

    I think it's a very good idea that you decided to use words that meant something to you, versus words that just seemed powerful.

  2. This is a great idea Erin! I am glad that someone else is so interested in the intersection of psychology and art. You did a great job with the aesthetics of the "memes" too. Maybe try some other fonts or a more handwriting style?? may give the quotes an even more powerful point if it looks like an individual's handwriting.