Artist Spotlight: Emma Sullivan

11

By Anna Jeavons

SHARE THIS CONTENT:

About me…

I’m Emma – I’m a visual effects artist with a background in traditional art practices such as painting and sculpture. While studying film and media, I became interested in more digital and technological art forms so over the past few years my practice has become an amalgamation of digital and handmade elements. While I’m fortunate to work in a creative field for my full-time job, I also find abstract and experimental art forms as a great way to express myself and spend my free time. I liked using art as a way to connect with other people to not only communicate difficult emotions but also hopefully create a space for other people to feel more open.

I heard about mindshare…

I heard about mindshare through Instagram. I saw another artist posting about them and I was instantly curious because I loved the positive messages they promote. Ending the stigma surrounding mental health is so important and I appreciate that they are an accessible organisation that have good communication with people and have events like [the mindshare Exhibition] which allow for so many people to get together to talk about these experiences so openly in a safe space!

My mental health and creativity in my journey…

I have anxiety and depression – I was diagnosed as a teenager however it still took me a few years after that to really come to terms with what that meant and even now as a 30-year-old I am still navigating how to deal with it. I have experienced extreme depressive and dissociative episodes where I didn’t feel like I existed in my own body – I became unable to move or even so much as lift my limbs or talk. Doctors would advise me that expressing my emotions through art could help a lot, they always beamed when I told them I loved to paint and draw, thinking perhaps that would be a great way to take my mind off things. However whenever I was experiencing depression, painting and drawing seemed like way too much effort but in 2018, after a long bout of depression, I started to use the Snapchat app on my phone to quickly make collages. It was a quick way for me to do something with my hands and take my mind off things. These collages were often gross and creepy and definitely started to mirror how I felt on the inside – these disjointed self-portraits, while sad and chaotic were also interesting and sometimes beautiful. I called them a “physical representation of a psychological state” and over the past few years they shaped and formed my current art practice. So in a roundabout way, my mental health helped create my art practice and my art practice saved my mental health so it is very bitter sweet.

I also find comfort in… 

Getting out into nature is so important for my mental health. I love being able to go hiking or visit the beach. I have a pretty decent collection of weird and strange shells and nothing beats the feeling of finding the most perfectly imperfect shell.

My community…  

I am fortunate to have an amazing support network. All my friends and family are understanding and always make me feel so much love. Growing older I’ve learnt that you have to surround yourself with the people who bring out the best version of yourself. My main concern in the past was that my anxiety and depression made me unworthy of compassion or other people’s time and that my emotions were invalid and “too much”, however when I look around at the people who love me now, I never have those doubts. I think it just goes to show the importance of being there for other people so that you can start to build those good communities for and with others!

I want to see… 

I want to see more people gaining confidence in being able to talk about their experiences with mental health! I want everyone to be able to share their stories, from the sad ones to the funny ones and eventually people can begin to see that these emotions are not so alienating after all. I think that as individuals we need to just keep promoting these conversations and giving others a safe space so that it can spread on and on. I think as the years go on, there is a growing conversation surrounding mental health and I have seen the stigma broken down piece by piece. I hope that putting myself and my art out there, even if that can reach just one other person who feels motivated or seen then even that much feels worth it to me.

How can folks support you and your art?  

Readers can support my art by following me on my instagram @kitten_limbs and if they want to get in contact email me at emmasullivan@outlook.com. I am currently working on putting together an online store for selling prints and zines so Instagram is the best way to stay up to date with what I have going on!

Find Emma on Instagram here.
Read about other artists spotlighted on mindshare here.

Leave a Comment





Recent Blog Posts

a screencap of the Radio Adelaide website, showing a blog post with a audio capture of the interview and a photo of Kat, Ph and Vas, taken at the Mindshare Launch Party

mindshare on the air with Radio Adelaide!

a light-skinned woman with shoulder-length dark hair stands smiling withing the mindshare photoframe, painted b Luke Hunter

Team Sarah’s Living Arts Story

The Faces of FoN : Part Two- mindshare Showcase of Festival of Now Creatives!

Under a large white marquee, a light-skinned woman stands on stage, wearing a bight magenta jacket and reading to an attentive seated crowd from a piece of paper.

The Faces of FoN: Part One!