Fear Network

Anxiety is a rational fear response. What happens when you have an out of control fear response? When little things that normally go unnoticed send your mind into a constant frenzy? Fear Network is a series of images that visually display what it has been like to live with an anxiety disorder. I use the medium of photography to capture self-portraits with embroidery floss stitched directly into the prints. The embroidery designs consists of linear designs corresponding to different symptoms that are experienced when anxiety is triggered. The dress creates a sense of timelessness and my portraits are framed in the center to draw focus to my personal depiction of what anxiety has been like in my life. The stitched applique originate from a simple, concentrated design in the center of the head where anxiety begins and increase in complexity and scale. Designs correlate with clenched fists, exposure of the neck where tension intensifies, and dizziness that occurs when going through an anxiety attack; all familiar things I have experienced often in my life.

Fear Network shows the complex and multifaceted reality of anxiety. My images have a somber and ominous sense to convey how having these struggles can often feel wistful. The black and white photographs convey a dreadful setting that displays how it feels dealing with anxiety at times. The colored embroidery shows the unique and fragmented complexity that happens internally when anxiety is triggered. Being able to see the embroidery designs and anxiety portraits interact together invites the audience to witness the neat, exterior perception on the front where people might only see what is being projected. The back of the prints portray the messy, interior chaos that is resonated when anxiety is manifesting in an individual.

The best way I was able to combat my anxiety by my own means was to go outside and create self-portrait photographs. Creating art helps to alleviate the struggles I often face with my anxiety. Isolating myself outdoors allows my mind to slow down and quiet itself. My whole concentration centers around creating art and peace of mind returns. By doing so, I was able to change my mindset to help combat the anxiety I was facing, which is used in Cognitive Behavioral Theory. This helps people with anxiety to combat the fear response provoked by the rush of adrenaline that creates the disarray of thoughts and reactions.

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