28 July 2010

About the Creator

This is a strange blog for me to create. I am a writer, not an artist. I paint the world as I see it with words. Drawing for me is all stick figures and scribbles a five year-old could do better.

But as much as words are my lifeblood, I do concede imagery can sometimes better capture a feeling or moment. This is particularly true when writing about a well-explored topic like depression. There are only so many descriptive words before you start retreading the imagery of another writer.

In my own personal journey with depression, I have found the words stop where the feeling begins. No amount of pretty prose can capture the storm that blows through me at times. But drawing and imagining pictures has helped give form to the formless. And, with a shape, I have been better able to explain, understand and begin to heal my internal landscapes.

Every journey is highly personal and I do not for a moment proclaim there are any right or wrong ways to perceive depression. Yet there are certain commonalities and I believe art is one way to draw these out.

In doing so on this blog, I hope people will sense a connection where they may have otherwise felt isolated in their experience. If I achieve this with just one person, then the effort will have been worth it. This is why I have chosen to enter the blogosphere.


The only limits to submitting to this blog are the boundaries of human imagination. You are free to draw, paint, make a montage or take a photo. Or, if you have an another idea for a medium, then feel free to use that too!

Although this is largely a visual project, I am not anti words. If words fit better, then you are welcome to use them too. I only ask you ensure the work you are submitting is original and free of copyright.

You are also free to submit multiple works. Depression is not one-dimensional so it is understandable if you have more than one image in mind.

This is an anonymous art project. This rule decreases self-censure and maintains the right of the poster to choose whom they disclose their condition to in real life.

Finally, this is not an artistic competition. I’m asking for honesty and not your ability or inability to draw. If you can’t draw, then make a montage of images or write a descriptive paragraph.

So start creating! And when you're done, please send your work my way (preferably in .jpg format): drawthatbeast (at) gmail.com

The Concept

If depression was sitting across from you, what would it look like? Would it be a he, she or gender neutral? Would it be animal, vegetable, mineral? Or would it be intangible, like an image or moment in time?

Winston Churchill once famously referred to his “little black dog” of depression. He imagined depression was just like a dog - loyal and steadfastly by his side through life. The imagery stuck and continues to be the mascot in popular culture for depression. On this point, Michael Johnstone has created a brilliant illustrative interpretation of said famous black dog.

This is an interactive online art project and not-for-profit. It is a chance to observe and give form to a condition that goes to the very core of the human spirit.

In time, I hope this blog also becomes a space for understanding. Depression is nothing to be ashamed of or to hide from. It does not reflect personal failure or defect, as it can happen to anyone at anytime.

If you do suspect you are depressed though, it is essential that you reach out for help from your support network. I also urge you to visit the following websites for further information and assistance:

Beyond Blue

Black Dog Institute
Reach Out

So here we are, at the beginning of this art project. I hope you choose to join me and are as curious about where it takes us and what we will see when we get there. Let the exploration begin!