Artist Spotlight: Kaitlyn Davison

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By Anna Jeavons

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About me…

I’m Kaitlyn Davison, a multi-disciplinary artist creating on Kaurna land (Adelaide). It wasn’t until undergoing a Bachelor of Contemporary Art at UniSA that I even considered pursuing multiple artistic disciplines, I had always thought of myself as someone who enjoyed drawing but Uni allowed me to explore different areas of artistic practice. So now I know a little bit about different mediums but I am not a master of any and I don’t think that is a bad thing, it has encouraged me to be adaptive and adventurous within my own practice. I’m currently doing my Honours year which is only teaching me more about myself and my practice.

I heard about mindshare…

I heard about mindshare through a friend who has been involved in the organisation and now volunteers there when they can. They let me know about the opportunity to apply for the group exhibition for artists with lived mental health conditions and encouraged me to express interest. I really loved the idea of bringing artists together to share their experiences through creative means.

My mental health… 

I live with anxiety, depression, and perfectionism. These conditions have been ongoing and have fluctuated throughout my life. At times they have impaired my ability to function within society, along with my relationship with myself, I have often felt quite impacted during my studies and feel proud of myself for achieving what I have. I am currently working with a psychologist to further bridge understandings about my conditions and how they affect me. A diagnosis is important to me as it allows me to see my mental health through a lens of kindness through my own struggles.

Creativity in my journey…

I feel as though I have always processed things in my life through creative means. I didn’t realise this until recent reflection on my own artistic practice, but I have been using drawing and creative writing to try and understand myself and the world around me since I was quite young. Now I imbue my own experiences into my artistic work and am often discovering things about myself through making.

Pursuing my artistic practice provides me with the ability to focus on particular aspects both in the physical realm and also within myself. Focusing on details of my work allow me to escape some of the unpleasantries that can come with my mind or even bring them into a physical space where I am able to better control the narrative.

It wasn’t until the last year that I really opened myself up to revealing my mental health experience through my work in a public way. My final assessment for my degree revolved around how anxiety and perfectionism affect me with ruminative intrusive thinking and negative ideation. I have a varied body of work but it is all an extension of myself.

 

I also find comfort in… 

I have a love for movies and books, especially fiction and fantasy, and I have often found comfort from these vices during times when I am low. I am still working on finding healthy coping mechanisms that work for me. I am fortunate that I have friends who are comfortable sharing and listening to mental health experiences, I find that having a space with other people where honest sharing can be found is truly grounding for me. I am simultaneously very open yet very guarded and always working on how to find authenticity within myself as someone who often masks their own feelings and experiences.

My community…  

I have often found myself drawn towards others who are creative and also happen to have their own lived experiences with mental health. A lot of my friends have diverse identities who enrich my live with their individual journeys. Conversations with fellow creatives give me strength and reinforcement within my own practice. I am lucky to have close friendships who I know are there for me if I need them and a partner who is supportive and sympathetic of my personal struggles.

I want to see… 

I believe that honest conversations and representations regarding mental health is very important. It is still hard to not feel shame or stigma surrounding certain conditions and I do struggle at times expressing my own experiences, especially around depression. Wider conversations and support within society for those experiencing mental health struggles are needed. A compassion approach rather than a dividing approach. 

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

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