Saturday, April 2, 2016

Talking Art & Mental Health With Dustooned

I met Dustin at EBABZ. I overheard him talking about how he was doing portraits of people facing their fears and I was curious. So after I spoke to him about my life with OCD and anxiety I walked away with new art and more reassurance that the creation is a form of therapy no matter what you create.

How long have you been into art?
Since day one. I have always had an interest since birth. I can still remember watching flashes of cartoons on screen from my youth. Cartoons were a way of bonding with my folks. In a classic nuclear family setting, Mom watched Disney, and Dad watched Looney Toons. Both just were imprinted in my brain early and became a strong presence in my artwork as far back as I can remember. Also, I liked the Looney Toons so much more! 

How long have you been into doing comics?
Comics have always had a presence in my life, and luckily I was born during the huge comic industry boom of the 90s. I think one of the first comic I ever read was a Batman or Spiderman comic. Ever since I discovered them, I started drawing my own. I think I Was about 4 years old at the time.

Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration for me comes from everything. All art forms, all great master artist of the past, but I think most importantly life is what inspires me. What drives me is love, and love life and people very much. I feel we can learn so much from each other. Especially from those who we love, and also can't stand. Shadows tend to be ignored, but sometimes I feel those are the greatest teachers in our lives.
Where did the inspiration for doing portraits of people facing their fears come from?
As I child, I was terrified of the world. I was in constant anxiety, but somehow found solace in expressing the strange shadows that lurked in my youthful angst. During my life, I feel into a deep darkness and mental disarray. This in turn caused me to question everything I thought about myself, and why I feared what I feared. One of those things was mental illness, and since at that point in my life I had began to brush the edges of mental illness, I knew I had to face them in some way. 

Hearing the stories, and fears of what others had been through that were close to me and seeing how they survived them gave me a drive to somehow find a way to encompass that visually. I have always been a supporter of therapy having personally benefiting tremendously from it. 

It taught me that its important to experience fear, accept it, but do not allow it to remain within you. It was all about perspective, and changing the perspective of how we saw fear, despite its strong challenges. So I thought, why not illustrate the worse that could happen rather than thinking about it? 

I feel in a way, it helps the mind see it for what it is in a way that is separate from reality, and I hope in some way it inspires the soul to see it not as intimidating as the mind perceives it. 

How do you personally face your fears?
Accepting myself 100%, loving my fears 100% but allowing them in my mind to control me. I have learned that we are not our thoughts ,and if we were to draw them, like Iam occasionally, we can see that they are a part of us, but not us. I guess in short, I tend to face them head on in whatever rhythm or way that seems tangible and or compatible in the moment.  Sometimes though, it takes me time and from there I will have to allow myself to gradually face them by making steps or little changes everyday. The mind works that way sometimes, we can't always allow ourselves to think that somethings can change overnight, but we can allow ourselves to believe overnight that we can change and face our fears. I feel that fear will always be with us, and instead of resisting it, like many of us do including myself, it simply better to just accept it, face it and stop running from it. 

As a very wise monkey had said about fear and the past, which go hand in hand quite well: "The past can hurt, but you can either run from it, or learn from it!"

More of Dustin's work can be found here:  

1 comment:

  1. I love his depiction of you -even though it looks really scary but helps me see what you're experiencing with OCD and germ-phobia. I really liked the interview too, his voice is hopeful despite adversity. I'll keep my eye out for the zines, thanks <3