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Fear Is Like A Forest

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This is Fear is Like a Forest, a site-specific experiential art installation combining hand drawn illustration and 3-dimensional design.

Visually, the concept brings a forest scene to an urban environment.

Thematically, the artwork touches on ideas of isolation, fear and anxiety. Given that an estimated 53,000 working aged people in Hackney are affected by a mental health condition- half of whom are affected by anxiety and depression* it has been rewarding to hear the public's responses and to see the work resonate with the broader community.

I began making sketches for the project during Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 and one year on I had a final illustration. Initially inspired by the Jen Cloher and Courtney Barnett song of the same name, the original concept was envisaged as a site-specific, 3D, immersive installation.

The Outsiders Gallery at VFD on Stoke Newington Road is described as a space to imagine, create and take action. It is a place to make transgressive imagery, a home to the outlaw rebel visionary and a space to discuss the critical alteration of the oppressive status quo.

The artwork was born out of a desire to connect with others by telling my own story in an honest way. The intention was to create a visually impactful and surprising installation, aesthetically in juxtaposition to its surroundings, inviting the public to stop and look more closely, and to open a conversation about the themes explored in the artwork.

The show was proudly inclusive, the style of the illustration is deliberately relatable and accessible, intentionally eschewing traditional methods of experiencing art. Instead, this project brought art to everyday life on the high street, without social or economic obstacles that might interfere with an individual's ability to experience art.

The work was on show for a month during November-December 2019.

* Source: London Borough of Hackney, City and Hackney Health and Wellbeing Profile, Mental Health Update, 2016.

Shot by Nicola Graves
Sound by Anna Stiles

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