Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Manic" at Skyline Lofts, Phoenix AZ


“Manic” Paintings on Display this First-Friday

Artist Shelley Whiting’s upcoming show of autobiographical paintings about bipolar disorder gives a personal, empathetic voice to those struggling with mental illness.

PRLog (Press Release) - Dec. 29, 2012 - What: "Manic" Gallery Show
Where: Skyline Lofts
            600 N. 4th Street
            Phoenix, AZ 85004
When:  Throughout January.
            Artist present during reception on Friday, January 4, 2012 from 6:00pm-9:00pm

While 2.8% of the American population has a severe mental illness, it seems that those people are often spoken of in the third person (1). Artist Shelley Whiting is changing that trend by prominently displaying works about her mental illness in public venues throughout the city. Her solo show, “Manic” is highly textural, richly colored and deeply personal.
"Isle of Bodies" from "Manic" show

Whiting’s artwork shows both the positive and negative aspects of bipolar disorder. Despite the large, smiling figures in many of the paintings, the overall feel of the paintings is very unsettling. “My circus-like paintings are influenced by my manic periods, which are artificial and can feel like a bad sugar rush,” says Whiting.

Other paintings are focused more on the anxiety on the other end of the spectrum. “My paintings feel very claustrophobic. I stack bodies on top of each other and create an agitated movement between the figures and portraits. The movement shows my dynamic emotional state. Presenting my raw vulnerabilities helps me learn new things about myself, while exposing my inner world to the public.”

Mental illness is often stigmatized, leading to isolation and avoidance of treatment. In fact, only 60% of people with a severe mental illness will receive treatment this year (2). This trend towards avoiding the “mentally ill” label worsens when tragedies occur, such as the Connecticut school shooting, and when the public rushes to judgment that mental illness is the cause.

“So many people who could use mental health care do not reach out for it because they are afraid that they will be locked up involuntarily if they reach out to a provider,” says Dean Spade, an activist and professor of law at the University of Seattle (3).

Shelley’s paintings assert the other side of what is commonly known about mental illness: that within the pain and struggle of mental illness comes great creativity and discovery (4). After completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from ASU, Shelley entered PSA Art Awakenings, where she received an art studio, training, and counseling for two years as part of her mental health care.

This show marks her largest solo show since leaving the PSA program. It is a testament from Shelley that those with mental illness are not alone, and it is okay for them to seek help.

Additional samples of Shelley's work can be seen at her website:

Sources: 1. Access to Disability Data. National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Accessed 28 Dec 2012.
2. Access to Disability Data. National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Accessed 28 Dec 2012.
3. The Nation. “Dangerous Rush to Legislate on Surveillance and Mental Health?” Flanders, Laura. 28 Dec 2012.
4. "Creativity and Mental Illness". Accessed 29 Dec 2012.


Yellow Monsters, Acrylic on board, 38X46

Saturday, December 22, 2012

True Brew Coffee, Phoenix AZ

My artwork is showing at a coffee shop in Phoenix.

The Big Holler, 38X46, Acrylic on board

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Bold Roost, Gilbert AZ

Here are some pieces at The Bold Roost, a coffee shop in Gilbert, AZ
Left Swamp People, 38X46, Acrylic on board Right The Greenish Stare, 46X38 Acrylic on board

Friday, November 30, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

25@1005, Warehouse 1005 Group Show

This is a show where 25 artists showed one piece of art. 

     The Done and the Undone 4 feet X8 feet, Acrylic on Board

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My paintings at Warehouse 1005 First Friday this month

Grandmother Me, 72X48, Acrylic on Board

Isle of Bodies, 48X96, Acrylic on Board
This is the first official big painting i've ever done. It was a blast and I plan to do more in the future.

  Moving into Positive Energy,48X48, Acrylic on Board

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Iambic Alamo Group Show

This is a shot of the building where I displayed my paintings.

This is a shot of the painting "Mom and the million pieces of me." 38X46, Acrylic on board

This is a shot of the painting "Crowded Self".46X38 Acrylic on board

This is a shot of my painting "Bright Giant". 38X46, Acrylic on board

My piece at Warehouse 1005

I started at Warehouse 1005 last week. I had spent two years in the PSA Art Awakening program. It helped me cope with my mental health problems and everyday struggles. It was an enriching and beneficial service. The other artists there were very talented and friendly. I will miss the program, but hope to have another positive experience.

This is a picture that I just did. I will take a closer picture of it later. This is just a sneak peak of what the studio looks like.

This is my painting "Mythic People". It is acrylic on board and 38x48.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Baby with the Trees and other paintings

Baby with the Trees, 38X48, Acrylic on board
                   My most recent art has been influenced by B movies and sci fi imagery. 
 Bright Green Baby 36X36, Acrylic on board

Monsterisland, Acrylic on board, 38X48

Wood Block Drawings

I went to Montana and loved the lovely green scenery. I was busy shooting pictures from the back seat of the car. While this series is really more abstract, it is somewhat influenced by the land there. This is an ongoing project. I plan to do more nature wood blocks.

 Nature #1
Nature #2

Nature #3

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My group show at Phoenix Ale Brewery, August 10th

 Me in front of my pictures
Left Swamp People 38X46, Acrylic on board and People of the Ellipse, 38X46, Acrylic on board

 My two paintings Swamp People (on left)
and People of the Ellipse (on right)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My piece in the juried exhibition The Unsettled Body at Phoenix Center for the Arts

The postcard for the exhibition The Unsettled Body at Phoenix Center for the Arts

My art shows at Soul Invictus in Phoenix and Phoenix Ale Brewery in Phoenix

At Soul Invictus in Phoenix

At Phoenix Ale Brewery in Phoenis hosted by Arbitrary Arts

Two poster for the Phoenix Ale Brewery show hosted by Arbitrary Arts

The artists that were in the show

Saturday, January 7, 2012

More drawings

Blue Black 1

Black 1, ink on wood

Blue 1, ink on wood

Black 2, ink on wood

Blue 2, ink on wood
Black 3, ink on wood

Black 4, ink on wood