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Michael Mize Art Blog

Art Therapy and Paranoia

by mize , January 8, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: Art as Therapy, inspiration

This very large monoprint is as much a record of therapy as it is a work of art. My wife and I shared a very close friend whom we both had known for nearly 14 years. In 1999 we watched as this dear friend slowly succombed to what we can only guess was a crippling case of paranoia and dementia. He became obbessed with conspiracy theories and was convinced that there were secret orginazations not only monitoring him closely, but coordinating and controlling his life against his will. At one point he reluctantly admitted to looking behind pictures hanging in his house expecting to find hidden cameras.

It was incredibly difficult to watch such a close friend suffer in such an unsual way, and he gradually became more and more withdrawn from us. Then unexpectedly on December 23, 1999 he was gone. He left without a word and we have never heard from him since. Our best guess is that my wife and I somehow became a part of his imagined conspiracy and thus, the enemy.

We occassional hear news about him through other friends, and apparently he is doing well, and for that I'm thankful. But I still find myself wondering exactly what happened, and wishing we could have done something to help him.

This is one of several portraits I made of my lost friend in an effort to sort through the incredible range of emotions I was struck with after his sudden disappearance. I did find though, that in the act of making these prints and pouring so much of myself into them, it provided me with some sense of closure. Since I couldn't actually say it person, this became my way of saying goodbye.




  Carla Santia ( homepage )

01/09/2008 * 10:07:33


Expression through art in the healing process is a very powerful tool. It is for this reason that health care professionals now incorporate art, whether it be exhibit programs in the halls of hospitals or creative workshops for patients, when treating the patient in a more wholistic approach. It is artists like yourself that have helped pave the way and continue to prove the value of art in our lives during stressful times and painful journeys. Thank you for not being afraid to let others know how deeply you experienced grief in such a jarring experience.


  Elizabeth A. Davison ( homepage )

01/08/2008 * 14:14:59


Thank you for sharing such a private and personal struggle and writing so beautifully about your experience. Somehow, I feel less alone knowing we're all trying hard to stay connected. Just one of the many reasons I helped found and create ArtId. Your portrait of your friend is inspiring.....keep the faith. I will be checking your studio more often for other gems!

Warm Regards,
president, ArtId


  ArtId Staff ( homepage )

01/08/2008 * 13:41:41

Michael. I am moved to tears. What a story and what a good friend you are. This expresses beautifully what many feel but cannot put into words. Thank You.

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