My artwork looks at the building blocks that make a person with a focus on mental health. I returned to the arts as a form of therapy, starting with acrylic pours. I enjoyed the lack of control as I would have to accept where the paints would go. It was a respite from the rest of my life, where I was desperately trying to control everything around me.
After many months of experimenting with paint, I discovered Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold,and greatly connected with the philosophy behind it, since I felt very broken at that point in my life. With this inspiration, I found that using dissected photographs allowed me to explore the idea of using broken pieces to create something whole; the same way I was trying to make myself feel whole. Coating these mosaics with resin, I am making them stronger than just the paper they were before, and refashioning them into something shiny and new.
In contrast to my earlier work, in which I embraced the chaotic nature of my psyche, without meticulous planning and going with the flow, my current focus is much more structured and thought out. The immense amount of detailed planning that goes into my collage work allows me to challenge the viewer through the design, the images I selected,and the name of the piece. My previous art style was used as a means of escaping, whereas my collage work is utilized as a way of communicating and interacting with the world and the issues facing it.
The Dead Ant is an artist based in Waterloo, Ontario who specializes in paper and resin collages. His distinctive style is informed by his experiences with mental health and living as a queer person. Originally a self-taught painter, The Dead Ant used art as a form of self-care. Creating with no requirements and allowing the paint to dictate the direction of the abstract pieces had provided a means of escape from everyday life.
Inspired by the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold, Kintsugi,The Dead Ant made the switch to collaging when he realized he could use fragmented images to better articulate the theme of mental health, and the aspects that make up one’s personality. Dissecting photographs allow him to explore the idea of using broken pieces to create something whole, the same way a person living with mental illness works through feeling broken, and eventually resolving what wholeness means to them.
While The Dead Ant has only begun exhibiting in 2019, he has been a part of several shows in Guelph and the Waterloo region.