I feel your presence behind me always by Tessa Santoni

I feel your presence behind me always by Tessa Santoni

In this ink drawing I struggled to cope with an anxiety disorder and constant sense of fear. It is embodied in this small moment in time.

I work with a lot of different media, especially focusing on textiles and paper for their tactile nature. For a little while in college I dove into pen and ink drawing. The ink was rich and dark and reflected the darkness in my own self during that period in my life. It was a time in which my anxiety and fear took over my being and possesed me for most of my waking moments. I could distract myself with other things but in the back of my mind it was always there. The anxiety was overwhelming, and tangible and I felt that it engulfed me and I within it I became totally lost. The ink drawing became a way to express this part of me and try to make sense of it on paper. It was also an outlet and a way to indulge in the sadness that filled me in my solitary state.

I have since recovered a great deal of my self and tucked the anxiety away into a box in the basement of my soul. I do revisit it from time to time, and it sometimes catches me off guard. But for the most part it is a significant yet small part of me that no longer defines my whole being. Like the fear inside me I keep the ink drawings as a relic, tucked away and not at the forefront of my artistic explorations. They are nice to revisit sometimes as a reminder of that darkness within me and of how far I have come in controlling it. I think they may speak to people who suffer with different kinds of anxiety and fear, and I hope that by exposing this little part of myself I can contribute to the very important dialogue on mental health that we need to have within our community.

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