MistressLisa Taylor, 40, from the UK is a visual artist and actress who specialises in painting, performance art and voice overs. Having exhibited her paintings in 9 group shows and 3 solo exhibitions, one in which was a sold out exhibition an enormous achievement for an artist, MistressLisa has also sold over 600 paintings and with her mash up of contemporary styles such as pop art, outsider art and a naive/folk genre she is an artist to follow and we look forward to what else this vibrant artist will do.
MistressLisa is an ASLI artist and has been involved with our local event in aid of this campaign to raise awareness about mental health through art. As well as this, she has also donated art to ASLI to auction to raise money for projects in our local area of Portsmouth / Southampton in the U.K. ASLI hope to work more and more with MistressLisa and are keen to also support her as a local artist, we see a bright future ahead and this artist is an asset we are keen to collaborate with. In her own words she describes her artistic background:
I won my first art competition aged 5 years old when my grandmother sent it to my local newspaper and have always been more artistic than academic, was often caught sneaking out of the maths class and into the art class at school. I began my working life in various care and catering jobs that ranged from cooking at a convent to catering for the Queen and Prince Phillip. At age of 36 I decided to do a B.A Hons in Fine Art where I gained a 2.2 I have never looked back in my artistic direction.
Here is our interview with MistressLisa:
What motivated you to deal with your chosen submission subject?
I am an absolute sucker for bold bright colours! My life as a disabled artist- i may be limited in my bodily actions but I am determined my art pieces will speak volumes with bright colours and textures.
What is your process when creating?
In my artistic process I tend to work quickly. I use Acrylic paint which in itself dries quickly but my own process when I create a painting is absolute attention until its finished, often putting in round the clock hours until the piece is finished. I don’t have a lot of patience and want to see the end result.
Who are you influenced by within your artistic discipline?
Henri Rousseau, Maria Prymachenko, Niagara Detroit, Tamara De Lempicka, Romero Britto, Gustav Klimt, Andy Warhol, Vincent Van Gogh, Destiny Womack, Howard Hodgkin, Shari Erikson, Heather Galler, Frida Kahlo, Karla Gerard, Alphonse Mucha, Jane DesRosier, Sandra Siberzweig, Roy Lichtenstein, Alex Katz are my main influences- my list is long.
Who inspires you in general?
who inspires me? Anyone that gets up shows up and gets the day owned. A person that is fearless that isn’t afraid of life.
What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for…?
I am passionate about justice & fair treatment from the government of the UK of vulnerable people especially disabled people. I am passionate about the treatment of people regarding race. #blacklivesmatter at the end of the day we are all humans-we all bleed the same.
What do the statements “art saves lives” and “art creates change” mean to you?
Hand on my heart, art has saved my life. Without it i would be dead. I am disabled mobility wise and my art I create is my therapy my outlet my everything! Art takes me to places I never knew I could before.
Have your artistic and creative outlets saved your life in anyway and do you think your message within them could help create change in the world?
Without my art my world would be a very grey one. I hope my usage of bright colours that raises my interest levels would inspire anyone else.
What are your present and future goals for your art?
My present and future goals are to keep on making bright art pieces to keep experimenting with styles. To exhibit more.
The following question are about mental health:
Can you tell us about your own experiences with mental illness?
My own experience of mental health is a difficult one. I have lived with it for pretty much 40 years. I recently sought help for my eating disorder that had taken over my life and made my life unmanageable.
How does your artistic /creative expression help you with your mental health?
I have become more highly motivated especially seeking help recently. My art I create is my get better therapy. My style has become more bolder more colourful as my recovery progresses.
Have you ever experienced being stigmatised or marginalised due to your mental health or have you seen this happen to someone else?
I haven’t ever myself felt stigmatised or marginalised but my best friends cousin lost her life to her mental health last year. She was a young mum and a had a brilliant career ahead of her. It was a huge shock and has been very difficult for all of her family.
Have you ever received treatment for mental health and if so, what was it, did it help and was it private or state funded?
No I haven’t sought treatment. To be honest I am a person that believes in the natural side of treatment such as diet exercise decent sleep and plenty of water for myself. Routine has been introduced as it was well needed. My balance had gone i was putting too much into one thing and it left me barely able to function on the rest of my goals. I think if I was to start receiving treatment my painting would suffer, but this is my own view everyone is different.
Do you think society and culture is accepting of people with mental illness?
No I don’t think society is accepting. More and more people are being diagnosed with mental health but the stigma of being ‘mental’ is hyped by bad journalism.
How do you feel your Government in your country helps people with mental illness and could they do more?
The government could do a lot more if they would stop cutting the funding to services. Its easier to write a prescription it seems than to actually help people with mental illnesses overcome it.
Have you ever had any creative therapies as part of your treatment, did it help?
My only creative therapies have always been my own. Art is my life. If I was offered creative therapies I would do it. It would be helpful.
Do you think artistic / creative expression can be used to help people with mental health problems?
I think Artistic/creative expression is the best thing to introduce to people with mental health problems, it is the best way of expressing an outlet. Art really is life changing.
What made you want to get involved with ASLI’s MENTAL ILLNESS, HEALTH AND RECOVERY CAMPAIGN?
After seeing friends and friends family affected and having to finally confront my own illness and start the recovery process I wanted to be more proactive as an artist. ASLI was perfect.
Do you believe in more rights for mentally ill people in the work place and for equal opportunities?
Absolutely! What gives anyone the right to say the person affected cannot do the task at hand because of their illness. It could actually help them in their treatment and recovery.
We at ASLI want to de-stigmatize diagnosis labels within mental illness so that people treat others and their own mental health label as that of a diabetic or any other chronic “physical” illness, as we know the brain is physical and this would further improve stigma and marginalising mental illness. How do you feel about diagnosis labels?
Diagnosis labels in my view are good for the person as they are then on the path to recovery which is a positive step, the diagnosis label however is a double edged sword whilst it is good then come in the stigmas where it is seen as that person is less capable of performing the same. Some can’t but labelling all mental or physical as anything less than perfect is completely wrong. I deal with physical stigma’s and labels in nearly everything I do and I find it a challenge to prove to that person not to count me out of being able to step up.
Everyone within ASLI is affected in some way by mental illness, with our MD having several chronic mental illnesses and other members either caring for or dealing with mental health issues. Would this make you think twice about working with ASLI? And does this make ASLI “less professional” in your opinion and if so why?
This organisation is perfect for me to reach out to others. I wouldn’t think twice about working within ASLI. My goal within my lifetime is to make more people aware. We are all one. No one is exempt from suffering in some way.
Are there any artists/creatives/performers which you admire, who suffer from mental illness that you feel use their work to discuss or highlight mental health?
I recently saw an article piece on the actress and comedian Ruby Wax who bravely counted herself as ‘Mental’ her recovery and breakdowns have been documented for years and for her to say ‘hey you know what I am deal with it’ makes me admire her all the more. She is using it to her advantage and created comedy tours highlighting the subject. She is a voice in an every day challenge.
Finally is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself or your experiences?
My advice is not to judge anyone unless you yourself have walked in that person’s shoes. No one should have to feel ashamed.
If you would like to find out more about Mistresslisa Taylor follow these links: