Fighting Fear

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“Fighting Back from the Inside” drawing by Maranda Russell

Fighting Fear
Written by: Maranda Russell

I took fear by the hand
and shook him until I heard
the sound of his yellow bones
popping in and out of place.

I pushed him down the stairs,
his skull cracking
against the white, stone steps
on his way to the finale.

He hit the basement floor,
his form a worthless gray lump,
emitting the mocking voices
no muzzle can silence.

Still, I must close the door
at least one more time
and pretend not to hear.
So I do.

Repaint the Ceiling

“Repaint the Ceiling”
Written by: Maranda Russell

Waking up,
I lay there and wonder
how long it would take
to repaint the ceiling?
Maybe a subtle, powder blue,
or a rolling green sea?
A buttery yellow,
or a soft and gentle lilac?
Something to take the edge off
on the nights I’m cut open
and bleeding on the carpet.

Video diary/blog (video 4) depression, chronic illness & chronic pain

I have been wanting to talk about the connection between dealing with chronic pain/illness and dealing with depression. I figured making a video diary about the subject would be a good way to approach the subject. Just please keep in mind that my advice for dealing with this issue is not a substitute for medical care. If you are experiencing severe depression, please see a healthcare professional. If you like the video or have something to say about this subject, please feel free to comment or like the post either here or on YouTube ūüôā

Video diary/blog (video 2) art as therapy

So here is the 2nd installment of my new video diary/blog series. This video talks about creativity, art and its therapeutic uses. I hope you enjoy the video and that it inspires you to indulge in some art therapy of your own! If you watch the video, please consider giving it a thumbs up on YouTube or even leaving a comment!

Why I consider myself an outsider artist…and am proud to be one!

One of my most recent artworks, "Blood Relations" in pen and ink.

One of my most recent artworks, “Blood Relations” in pen and ink.

For a while, I really struggled to find a place in the art world. I wasn’t sure where I fit in. I have no formal training (other than the art classes I had in elementary and middle school), so I am almost entirely self-taught. I have read some artistic “how to” books, but always tend to kind of do my own thing and follow my own style. Even when it comes to picking art tools and supplies, I don’t necessarily go for the “high art” stuff that costs an arm and a leg. For pen and ink work, I tend to use Sharpie markers and pens and¬†for painting, I use moderately priced acrylic and watercolor paints and usually paint on art board (a sturdy kind of cardboard). I do indulge a bit and get¬†good quality¬†sketching pencils, but they don’t cost all that much anyhow. For colored pencil/crayon work I have used high-priced “artistic” brands, but still kind of prefer the old fashioned Crayola honestly.

So when I heard about the genre of outsider art and that it generally refers to self-taught artists, I was immediately interested. I found out that outsider art is also often linked to artists who suffer from mental illnesses or disabilities, which fits me great since I have high-functioning autism and due to that, may tend to look at the world a bit differently than neurotypicals. Of course, I also have troubles with anxiety and depression, so I may qualify on both counts!

Lastly, I have read that outsider artists generally don’t create for the sake of “selling” their art¬†or obtaining¬†commercial work, but instead make art that is meaningful and appealing to them personally, even if it means not selling much work. In no way do I look down on artists who take on commercial projects or create with an eye to selling (everyone has to eat after all), but I myself struggle to do a good job on any artwork that doesn’t¬†cooperate with¬†my passionate Aspie obsessive interests. I am thrilled when I do sell artwork because it means I have kindred souls out there…and that excites me even more than any financial payoff.

So there you have it, my take on outsider art and why I feel I fit in that category. I know there are many art experts who sit around and debate what true outsider art is and if it even exists, but¬†for me, the¬†outsider art community¬†has made¬†me feel at home…and maybe that matters most of all.