20 October 2017

Five contemporary artists exploring mental health

Preview the new 'With Art in Mind' exhibition.

“The sole difference between myself and a madman is the fact that I am not mad!”, Salvador Dali once famously said on the idea of him being a tortured artist.  The link between creativity and mental illness has been romanticised, mythologised and studied by psychiatrists and artists alike for decades. What is often left out of the conversation is art’s capacity to transform, heal and strengthen.

It’s this capacity for healing that is the topic of a new exhibition at London’s Zebra One Gallery entitled ‘With Art in Mind’. Exploring how artists share their own experiences of mental health through their work, the exhibition features pieces from iconic artists including Francis Bacon, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol alongside contemporary artists Kim Noble, Charlie and Eddie Proudfoot and George Harding.

Preview the exhibition below, with five poignant works from contemporary artists who will be on display, with a percentage of all sales going towards the Mental Health Foundation.

Kim Noble


Having spent many years in and out of hospital, Kim Noble was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder in 1995, Kim Noble has 20 differing personalities, 14 of whom are artists. These 14 artists each have their own distinctive artistic styles ranging from abstracts to collages, making Kim one of the most prolific creative around today.

Charlie and Eddie Proudfoot

Elusive and secretive, little is known about the Proudfoot Brothers except that they reside in NYC’s Lower East Side, and spent time in foster care, prison and psychiatric care throughout their lives. Creating mixed media works using old magazines and newspapers – the Proudfoot’s art centres on portraiture that obscures the face, making their subjects as elusive as themselves.

Darren MacPherson

Figurative painter Darren MacPherson draws inspiration from his previous life as a social worker in his art. His colourful pieces explore the human condition through a complex process of layering using acrylics, spray paint, pastel and crayon.in acrylics, spray paint, oil pastel and crayon.

George Harding

George’s self-portraits challenge perceptions about mental health. Drawing from his own journey with mental illness, and those of friends and family, he finds inspiration from impressionist painters – using techniques of blurring and fragmenting to portray emotion and disassociation from reality. Through his work he tries to create joy around our selves, and show that there are many different ways of living and being.

Gerry Laffy

Starting his career as a graphic artist, then moving into music as a guitarist for the likes of Duran Duran and Ultravox, Gerry Laffy has come full circle back to art. Creating mixed media pieces in a pop art style, Gerry’s striking pieces are made by layering gold leaf, silver leaf, diamond dusting, acetate, acrylics, ink and prints.

‘With Art In Mind’ opens on November 17, running until the end of the year the the  Zebra One Gallery, London