I created this piece for the Warehouse Arts District Association / Foundation for a Healthy St. Pete campaign called You Good? in which artists were asked to create pieces that interpret issues surrounding mental health in our community, especially during the COVID-19 health crisis.
This wasn’t an easy topic to approach from an artistic perspective, because I wanted to be very sensitive to the many ways people may have felt or coped with the crisis, but I also wanted to offer a sense of hope. One thing I knew for certain: I hadn’t met anyone who hadn’t been impacted negatively in some way. No one could smile about the crisis. So I selected from my body of work a collection of diverse people with various degrees of frustration, contemplation, and melancholy.
Despite the fact that the COVID crisis has been so destructive to people’s families, businesses, and psychological states, I did not want that to be the sole focus of the piece. I decided to add pops of color to brighten the people in the portraits, and use a sunburst design in the background to add even more color and texture. Within the rays of the sunburst, there are many scenes of things we may miss: gatherings with friends and colleagues, concerts, parties, beach days, business events. I also juxtaposed things of beauty and comfort: puppies, cats, birds, trees, baby animals, mountains, bright flowers, other nature scenes. I wanted this background to offer an impression of what we have to look forward to at the end of this tunnel.
The piece is on display at the Tulley-Levine Gallery at the ArtsXchange Campus in the Warehouse Arts District.