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Art Series by Gabrielle Samson

To be featured in our upcoming Hall of Mirrors zine publication

By Gabrielle Samson

I am an amateur artist who suffers from Bipolar Disorder, BPD, and Anxiety. I like to paint and draw my emotions- particularly exploring the duality of moods and perspectives that I can experience within any given period. The paintings below were drawn this semester in response to a recent switch from a period of paranoia into a period of depression. I have noticed that as I’ve painted more frequently this year because of the free time during quarantine, the emotional quality of my paintings has not changed as my emotions have. This is indicative of the idea that these contrasting or dark emotions always live within me, regardless of whether or not they decide to show. My art is an opportunity to express them safely, as they too wish to be seen.


Spaced is a piece I painted exploring the concept of reflection during a period of being “in-between” emotions. I commonly draw dual faces to represent bipolarity. However, in this piece, the emotions are somewhat ambiguous, without distinct mouths or expressions. I see them as uncertain as if they were waiting to find out if they will crash into a drastic feeling, or simply float away into normalcy.


Protector is a painting symbolizing the relationship between the “inner child” and the “protector” in our personalities. As the protector becomes the dominant force of our actions, the inner child shrivels within us, and we are consumed by our fears. The protector is necessary for shielding us from risk but can cause anger that suppresses the needs of our inner child.


4 PM was painted at nighttime when I was feeling energized, filled with creative motivation. Although I felt in high spirits, I decided to create a reflection of what I had been suppressing- the feeling of dread which would often creep in at around 4 p.m. A time representing looming hopelessness returning like clockwork. The eventual embodiment of “4 PM” seemed entirely inevitable.

The Stress in my Neck

The Stress in my Neck is my favourite painting thus far, visualizing the burden of paranoia. The piece showcases the tireless effort to hide the stress and emotions which are often “stuck” inside the body, such as in the neck. In my experience, the neck has been the keeper of tension from anxiety, and the welling of tears from sadness. If hidden, the stress in my neck will demand to be felt, seen, and cared for until released.


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