Art as part of my life and its aiding me to cope better with my mental ill-health is of paramount importance. It is not that I find painting necessarily relaxing of itself, indeed I find that it rarely is (I do not paint ‘pretty pictures of pretty things’), but it helps to give shape and meaning to my life and the world around me. It brings its share of problems, but more – many more – positives: although I’ve only sold a few pieces, it is an immense fillip; my self-confidence grows as pieces I’m striving to create take shape.
I have, in more recent years, started to exhibit with Art in Minds and enter the Outside In exhibitions, though they have yet to select me for their displays. And there has been the ‘Decay’ exhibition that I and a couple of friends mounted.
Yet it is not something I find easy: for instance, due to long-term mental health problems, though incorporating the seemingly mundane and the frequently frightening episodes of mental disintegration into my work has helped. There have been long periods when I have struggled or failed to execute any pieces; but the desire to do so always remains.
I tended to work in traditional media, such as paint, pen and pastels, but have more recently taken up constructing collages and composite works on the computer. I don’t limit myself to simply depicting the superficial reality of the Earth. The images I conjure attempt to throw into exterior relief the world behind my eyes and help me interpret the worlds around me. These are intrinsically linked – despite the sometimes fracture between me and all else – and all represent reality as I see it.
Richard Bray (summer 2015)