aside ASLI Artist Louise Tomkinson states: “to me, “art saves lives” means having the power to use the language of art, as art is strong enough to pull someone back from the brink, therefore becoming the voice which enables art to create change”.

Artist Louise Tomkinson
Artist Louise Tomkinson

 

Louise Tomkinson, 34, from Portsmouth in the UK is a fine artist, text artist, photographer and poet. Having always been an artist, telling ASLI that since being very young she remembers having that feeling to create and to pour herself into her art. Louise successfully completed a fine art degree at Portsmouth university in 2010 and graduating was an amazing achievement.

Louise’s artistic background lays within fine art but has also worked as a photojournalist for a newspaper in Gainsborough, North lincs in the UK. Over the years Louise learnt something new each time and in 2005 she successfully published poetry in a book called Mixed Emotions by United Press as well as taking part in many exhibitions, including an exhibition we recently held for ASLI and the present campaign “Mental Illness, Health and Recovery”. The work Louise chose to exhibit in our pop up exhibition was deeply personal wanting to tell her story, to release it, to entwine herself with others who felt or feel this way, to show she has survived.

Here are the links to the event:

ASLI’s Mental Health Awareness Fair and Event – The low-down

The Mental Illness, Health and Recovery – ASLI Event and Fair in Pictures

Louise tells us she has a great family and partner who support her and finds inspiration from her daughter, called Hope, whom feels is the light in her darkness. There have been times of trauma and challenges during her life and every time Louise got to the other side of her pain, accrediting her art as giving reason to succeed and believe, choosing to focus on art within mental health because Louise wants to be a voice, to exude the power to save lives through art and to share her journey to inspire others.

 


 

 

 


 

We at ASLI wanted to find out more about Louise, here is the interview:

What is your process when creating?

My creative process begins by looking within myself at what I need to do or say.  Everything I do is real, real events or issues.  Just as a songwriter would do, I paint the lyrics.

Who are you influenced by within your artistic discipline?

I am hugely influenced by Frieda Khalo.  What a wonderful woman and artist!  Creating such power from her own issues,  to paint such visionaries.  I adore  looking at work that displays a rawness, a frank expression from an open soul.

What do the statements “art saves lives” and “art creates change” mean to you?

To me, “art saves lives” means having the power to use the language of art, as art is strong enough to pull someone back from the brink, so becoming the voice which enables art to create change.

What are your present and future goals for your art?

As an artist my goals are to keep working within mental health and gain the qualifications to work as an art therapist, I intend to complete an art therapy MA so I can work within my community, through this I intend to make a change.

 

The following questions are about mental health:

Can you tell us about your own experiences with mental illness?

I myself have suffered at points in my life with depression.  I found talking to a doctor who prescribed me medication, incredibly beneficial.  I’ve also come across a lack of feeling from some who write depression off as something trivial but it’s a major illness, affecting all areas of your life.  I’m happy to say I survived and found the wonders of life again.

Do you think artistic / creative expression can be used to help people with mental health problems?

Art is such a powerful tool, of course it could really help to save lives and make a difference.  Provoking but also soothing, to release feelings embedded into one’s soul that may have been buried or never looked at.

Do you think artistic / creative expression can be used to help people with mental health problems?

Using artistic expression would definitely raise awareness but also join fellow artists together from all walks of life to become the voice of many, creating unity!!

We at ASLI want to de-stigmatize diagnosis labels within mental illness so that people treat other and their own mental health label as that of a diabetic or any chronic “physical” illness, as we know the brain is physical and this would further improve stigma and maginalising mental illness. How do you feel about diagnosis labels?

I do feel diagnosis labels are wrong and dividing.  I believe giving labels causes even more darkness creating all kinds of other problems.

What made you want to get involved with ASLI’s Mental Illness, Health and Recovery Campaign?

I wanted to become involved with art saves lives international because I am passionate about such issues and art therapy.  I believe I could help make a difference.  But I also do this for myself, as an artist I have so many stories to tell, that others could relate to.  I want to give a message that art was and still is my saviour. As well as work with fellow artists who believe in using our creative voice to empower.

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? If so, why?

Working alongside someone who is affected by mental illness would certainly not discourage me!!  Not at all!!  It would in fact inspire my soul to connect in a profound level having suffered myself.

 

Find out more about Louise Tompkinson follow this link:

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