Prejudice by Trinaty Lopez-Wakefield from ‘Crazy Art’
A reader emailed us information about a new documentary titled “Crazy Art” that was recently featured at the 2010 Santa Barbara Film Festival. The film follows three people with schizophrenia and their struggle with mental illness.
While the three artists have been plagued by schizophrenia from a young age and have experienced life from unique perspectives, all of them find comfort through creating art. While I haven’t seen the movie yet, it looks very interesting. Below are some videos, including the trailer, an interview, a synopsis, and the original press release.
‘Crazy Art’ Trailer
‘Crazy Art’ Synopsis
The documentary, Crazy Art, explores how art can be used by someone experiencing psychotic, depressive and manic symptoms to reduce and manage those symptoms. It also explores how, in the history of art, as with van Gogh, creativity can reach brilliant heights when psychiatric symptoms are peaking, and how that same creativity, when intensified, can itself increase madness.. The role of art as a form of distraction or meditation to tame the savagery of mental illness is discussed by the three featured artists. The “identity journey” — from madman to Artist— forms a focus in seeing how recovery can be constructed bit by bit.
‘Crazy Art’ Interview
‘Crazy Art’ Press Release
‘Crazy Art’ tells the story of three schizophrenic artists from Santa Barbara, California. The film follows their lifelong struggle with mental illness and examines their search for identity, acceptance and recovery through their unique and thought provoking art.
Their normal childhoods were soon shattered with the onset of schizophrenia. Not understanding the delusions and seemingly constant bombardment of negative voices in their heads, they turned to drugs and alcohol in an attempt to find inner peace through self destructive behavior and suicide attempts.
Each of them has taken a different path to get to where they are today. However they all share the common bond of finding their only solace by creating art. ‘Without art, I wouldn’t be alive,’ is voiced by all three. Art provides them with the satisfaction of creation, the ability to ‘push the voices aside,’ and the chance to have an identity previously stolen by their illness.
But art isn’t the panacea. It is not the cure. All three artists continue their battle with schizophrenia. They still hear voices and ‘channel messages from a higher power.’ They need strong medication. They still battle addictive tendencies. They still have manic and psychotic episodes. The support of their friends, families and admirers make up the crucial network of relationships that together, with their art, provide the only hope of recovery.
JUSTIN ROWE, filmmaker states, “This is not an educational film but it will give outsiders an inside view of the disease these people have to deal with daily. Currently, all three are doing okay – on medical regimes and doing the best they’ve ever done but they also know it’s not over… this is a constant battle.”
Filming began in April and just wrapped.. Rowe’s last SBIFF entry was in 2004 on “The Aphrodite Project,” as co-director/co-producer. Rowe has his own production company, based in Carpinteria, called 10 Toes Over.
JT TURNER, Executive Director of Phoenix, Santa Barbara who wanted to do more for the people he serves and so was the impetus for the film being done states:: “The message of this film is that individuals with severe conditions like schizophrenia can be compellingly creative, using their struggles, as van Gogh did, to produce art that reaches all of us at a deep level.
You’ll be captivated by their story as the three artists in the movie describe how they do alchemy with the voices they hear and the terror they feel, turning their psychiatric experiences into transcendent art that speaks to us and touches us in a unique way. The movie was made possible by individual contributions and by a matching grant from Jon and Lillian Lovelace.”