This piece was part of the 2012 Brain & Mental Health Art Show, in the Public/Graduate category.
Brainterplay, Felivalkyria’s highly textured 16” x 20” mixed media piece on gallery stretched canvas, is her portrayal of the poignant effects of imbalanced neurotransmissions and negative thought processes, particularly on her own life. The common sentiment that “people become crazy due to brain (or chemical) imbalances” inspired her to paint an extremely simplified version of brain structures and events theorized to contribute to mental illness (under-activity of neurotransmitters, represented by the iridescent reddish-brown circles) juxtaposed with her self-portraits as depressed and anxious. Negative thought processes, demonstrated by excerpts of personal musings from Felivalkyria’s old blog selected from a period of relapse, are also reputed to shape brain chemistry. The text is obscured to illustrate cognitive distortion. The sheer abundance of “pills” inside each capsule hole denotes the need for experimentation before finding the one that works, since everybody’s physiology is unique and thus reactions to medication can’t be predicted. Brainterplay is the result of Felivalkyria’s desire to produce and share art that was not only personal but educational in a safe venue.