Broken, Not Incomplete

Open Access
Crane, Anna Marie
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Fine Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • John Richard Bowman, Thesis Supervisor
  • Simone Osthoff, Honors Advisor
  • Art
  • Mental Illness
  • Mental Health
When I started to pay attention to the problem of the stigma society has placed on mental illness, I noticed the way mental illness was treated in the art world and other creative fields. I have found that there are several ways in which the art world treats mental illness. Some people attribute the symptoms of mental illness to the specialness of being a creative person, ignoring the possibility of mental illness or not realizing that it could be present. I have also found some artists, when they do accept that mental illness is present, believe that art is a treatment and may not seek any further help. There are two parts to my thesis: This written portion of my thesis and my solo exhibit, Broken, Not Incomplete. The written portion discusses mental illness, the problem of not seeking help, and the way artists treat mental illness. I use the life of the photographer, Francesca Woodman, as an example to show how people sometimes blame emotional and psychological issues an artist may have on creativeness, rather than possible mental illnesses. In my exhibit, I discussed these problems and demonstrated that mental illness can be treated in a healthy way while maintaining the “specialness” expected of those in a creative field.