Mark Lloyd, 44, from Bournemouth, UK describes himself as a contemporary artist. Mark is also a lecturer and community mentor with a background in graffiti art and is trained in art at BA and MA levels.
We at ASLI wanted to find out more about Mark so here is our interview with him:
What motivated you to deal with your chosen submission subject?
Exploration of the self and world around me, a quest for meaning and the spiritual.
What is your process when creating?
My work begins from philosophical and conceptual starting point and often directly references postmodern philosophical concepts, science theory, and science fiction. My work is a visual manifestation of thought experiments. The circle or sphere motif appears in nearly all my work and serves as a visual symbolic vehicle, conceptual and philosophical metaphorically speaking represents mystery and the unknown. My work intends to explore unknown unknowns of the human condition and evolution in the age of computer technology, genetic development and the future possibilities and catastrophes of this blurification.
In painting I synthesise the past and the future in imagery and materials. Recent themes include; transhumanism/posthumanism, the wonders and catastrophes of modern technology, the human soul or spirit, and the loss and rediscovery of God. In this recent work I burn objects, artworks or prints of art, and turn the ash into paint pigment with which I make paintings. Why do I do this? It is suggested that art has lost its ‘aura’/soul (Walter Benjamin) this process is an attempt to reintroduce aura/soul back into art, a re-interpretation of the Hindu practice of ‘Antiyesti’. It is also an attempt to introduce deeper meaning and value and reconstruct the ‘real’. Many of the concepts of transhumanism/posthumanism fascinate me and the implications to the soul/aura. I believe this is relevant and important in the context of our ever increasing reliance and dependence on technology in a modern culture where the ‘real’ has been lost”.
What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for…?
Recovery and mental health issues, I work in the community to inspire others and enable others to help themselves (self-betterment) and climb out of desperation and an early death – provide hope. I also donate artwork to charity and personally mentor five people voluntarily in my community
What do the statements “art saves lives” and “art creates change” mean to you?
Art can provide an avenue for self-expression, Art can enable us to realise the truth, art can provide hope and wonder, elements that can provoke change and save lives
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?
Art has given me purpose, direction and meaning to my life, in my art intend to deliver questions that provoke the viewer to think! I offer questions and never answers, that is for the audience to decide for themselves.
What are your present and future goals for your art?
To make many more unimaginable wondrous things that can provoke thought and change
The following questions are about mental health:
Can you tell us about your own experiences with mental illness?
Depression, addiction, criminality, homelessness, psychosis, other mental health issues etc.
How does your artistic /creative expression help you with your mental health?
It doesn’t, I can’t work when I’m ill.
Have you ever experienced being stigmatised or marginalised due to your mental health or have you seen this happen to someone else?
Yes and yes, dehumanising, hopelessness, truly stigmatisation and marginalisation are tools of destruction.
Have you ever received treatment for mental health and if so, what was it, did it help and was it private or state funded?
Yes to both, I have seen therapists, psychologists, councillors, institutions and have been to treatment centres.
Do you think society and culture is accepting of people with mental illness?
Nearly…things are improving and slowly changing for the better in people’s awareness and perceptions, but there is a long way to go as the funding is continually cut from the organisations who can make a difference.
How do you feel your Government in your country helps people with mental illness and could they do more?
I fell they do not care about the poor and the vulnerable in society. The current government has continually cut back on funding, so yes they could do way more. I want to live in a society that cares for the vulnerable not neglects the sick and needy. This is a crime in a first world state in the 21st century.
Have you ever had any creative therapies as part of your treatment, did it help?
I once made a collage, and once drew a tree of important people in my life in a therapy session, but that was it really, it did help.
What made you want to get involved with ASLI’s MENTAL ILLNESS, HEALTH AND RECOVERY CAMPAIGN?
Your work is dearly needed and is important in raising awareness and communicating how mental illness affects people and I agree with your aims, if my story can help or inspire others then ASLI has provided me with a platform to do so and that’s fantastic.
We at ASLI want to de-stigmatise 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?
These labels can marginalise, stigmatise and separate.
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?
Yes many of my influences have suffered from mental illness.
Finally is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself or your experiences?
Please don’t take life too seriously, and remember pain always passes.