Work Description

The "Depression Paintings" series were inspired by news analysis of the economic crisis circa 2008-09. There were a curious number of features referencing the Great Depression, in which the survivors of the Depression mention how burlap sacking was used for clothing as a frugal mechanism. Simultaneously, there were multiple instances of reporting on how the slowed economy affects the art world, and particularly how economic recessions and depressions are often "good" for artists and creativity, as it creates situations of new innovation and development, and cleans house in oversaturated markets. Economic strain or even collapse, these multiple news reports (on NPR, the New York Times, Time, and the Atlantic), seem to suggest, is a catalyst for creativity and innovation. This use of the term depression conflates its simultaneous usage in economic structures and of the psychological state of depression, which also is often, sometimes romantically, associated with creativity. The burlap sacks ("Sad Sacks", if you will) are painted with enamel paint which have been infused with ground up pharmaceuticals, typically antidepressants, but also painkillers and alcohol (systemic depressants). These objects are in a sense self-medicating. Their self analysis and treatment both affirms and challenges the posited necessity of depressions of the psychological and economic sort for acts of creativity.