By Ashley Whitt
Death encompassed my early adulthood. A family friend committed suicide when I was 19 and I found his body. My mother passed away after a long battle with cancer when I was 22. Both of my grandmothers passed away in the same year as my mom. My father attempted suicide twice. I attempted suicide once. It's been a long road from my early twenties to my early thirties. Sometimes I can't believe I'm still alive. I hope my darkest days are in the past, but I know the potential for depression to creep back into my life. My anxiety stays with me everyday, though I wish I could shake it. I also see the connection between my anxiety and my creative process. I channel all of my anxiety, depression, and uneasiness into something physical that represents how I feel or what I see inside of my mind. I have an incessant need to create, and it brings me peace if only for the moment. Creating awareness about mental illness is something I am passionate about, and I hope to start a dialogue with others about these issues by sharing my story through my work.
© Ashley Whitt
The Haunted Mind is a body of work that addresses themes of duality, anxiety, and mortality. When my mother passed away five years ago, I became consumed by depression and anxiety. These images are visual representations of the fears and anxieties that exist within myself. Multiple figures inhabit the frame to depict internal conflicts and the duality that exists within the self. Inspiration for the series comes from literature, film noir, nightmares, and an obsession with death. The images are primarily created in wooded areas and isolated landscapes in order to visually depict the unconscious mind.