#17: The Mind – A Creative Investigation into the Human Mind

4 minute read
Matt Witt – The Mind

Welcome to the long awaited 17th edition of Wake up screaming: A creative investigation into the human mind. The final publication features 40 artists, offering over 20,000 words and over 100 images which together form countless insights into the complexities and the simplicities of the human mind.

 A Word From Matt

In this month’s edition of Wake up screaming, I talk to 38 artists about their relationship with their minds. From those working with and through mental health conditions, to counsellors, support workers, mothers and fathers, students, therapists, meditators and mandala makers. Children of the modern world who each offer their own unique insights into the complexities and simplicities of the human mind. Each person provides a deeply intimate, personal story about their own dealings with the mind, highlighting the importance of creative expression in getting to grips with their mind and processing the extremes of modern life.

This edition was the most challenging for me so far. It took over two months to collect, select, edit and compile the 39 articles, interviews and essays within this edition. Such is the topic, the exchanges between myself and the contributors were in some cases deep and expansive and provided a great deal of insight into the challenges presented by the creative mind. 

Throughout the last three months I have been managing some of my own internal challenges, in the midsts of deep winter. 

Working on this project helped me through these dark weeks by providing conversations with people who have lived through similar experiences and in most cases far more challenging and excruciating situations. It provided me with some valuable context and perspective and emphasised the importance of talking things through with other human beings and redirecting focus away from the echo chamber of our ongoing internal conversations.

During the compilation of this zine I have had many exchanges with artists who are simply reaching out via their art in the hope that some like minds will reach back, the simple act of humans attempting to relate to each other through art is healing and reassuring. 

I hope this compilation provides a point of access for deeper conversation on issues relating to the mind. I hope it encourages people to talk about their internal affairs and not to suffer in silence. Learning to talk is the first step to finding relief, we must then find peace in our experience and learn to appreciate a mind that can cause such turmoil yet also, and sometimes in the midst of this turmoil, produce works and moments of beauty.

We are drawn to weave art from the undulations of our life experience, sometimes while undergoing great trials of stability, self doubt and a tendency towards self destruction. To my mind, it’s a wonder how anything gets created at all in a reality that tends towards chaos.

Can we accept order in its completeness? We are made of both. Sometimes we drift further towards chaos, despite our best efforts to impose order, sometimes order is fashioned simply by letting go of the need to repel chaos.

How does the mind get to grips with and process this dichotomy? One could say that art is a part of the processing mechanism. Bethany Thomas – puts this in more reliable words in her Thesis extract: Dichotomy – A Thesis Extract.

In This Edition

I don’t think it’s fair to prescribe a route through these articles, the first piece is as valuable as the last, so here are some means of navigating through the depths of the mind, choosing your own adventure here: Explore The Mind.

This edition might be read as some sort of modern reference manual for the mind, a “Book of the Living”. Where humans can come to read and take note of the internal experiences of others, where we can gather to read and learn about the intricacies of the human mind in this modern society. Perhaps we can also apply some of the wisdom and insight these artists are providing in coping with the undulations of our own minds and the challenges of existence.

It’s a deep, epic edition, such is the topic, it instigated numerous conversations about human relationships with the mind, with ourselves, with others and with society at large. It highlights the importance of talking and expressing our internal affairs. It highlights the importance of community, collaboration and the calming and catalysing effects of creativity on the human being.

Jack Haslam tells us about the ‘Voices in My Head‘ and his creative endeavours with Aspergers. Philip P Chandler presents his investigations into depression via collaborative painting. We learn a new word from Danny Stevens who talks to us about “Acatalepsy”. Francesca Ricci presents “Tabula Impressa” her ongoing project inspired by the Jungian concept of the collective unconscious which includes a symbolic language derived from the codes painted on London pavements.

We peer into the mind of Greta Latchford, exploring the balance of masculine and feminine. Emily Hochman presents Documents from the Bi-Polar Spectrum. Marcus Scott tells us about a troubled adolescence that lead him to find art and confront mental health issues in the creative industry. Emilia Wilson, investigates trauma and PTSD, asserting that: “Trauma can be incorporated into one’s identity, serving not only as a turning point or reference point, but also defining one’s life and purpose.” 

Art therapy workshop leader Jane Hudspith comments on the benefits to mental health of engaging in collaborative artistic endeavours. And John Williams explains how his life experiences have taught him “the importance of living in the present moment.” We are joined by regular contributors, JEMontclar, who talks about the importance of showing up, and Fraklin Lavioe shares an insight into his “Mindscape”

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are  20,000+ words over 40 pages, with around 120 images that present countless insights into the Mind and its creativity.

In a world where we are encouraged towards sound bites, memes and all that is expedient, Wake up screaming is a zine for people who have some time to read. 

Thanks to each one of the contributors for the valuable, deeply intimate stories they have shared. I hope you enjoy the show.

Art is an investigation of consciousness, as is all of life.

For new editions and submission calls, please sign up here: http://eepurl.com/dHzi6b


You can choose your own pathway through this edition by using the visual index below.

You can also browse the artists A-Z and browse artist by tags/themes here

The usual list of contributors is included further down. 

#17 – The Mind – Contributors