When David Feingold submitted his fascinating digital art entries to the Manhattan Arts International “Hot Topics – Bold Expressions In Nature & Human Nature” competition, he shared this equally startling statement: “I have bipolar disorder. I am callously feared, avoided, judged, and marginalized even by family and friends who find it hard to engage with me because of my spoiled, bipolar reputation. My artwork reflects my feelings of helplessness, despair and anger, stemming from both fearing and being feared by others.”
Curious to learn more I visited Feingold’s website. I was astounded by his range of artistic talent in art and communication, and impressed by his intention. I discovered a courageous, resilient individual who is raising awareness about mental illness and bringing positive change to society.
James Bacchi, co-owner of ArtHaus Gallery in San Francisco, CA and I selected Feingold’s “You See Me As An Alien” for the “Hot Topics” exhibition. We also chose the remarkable artist to receive the Second Place Award in the competition.
Bipolar disorder is certainly a tot topic and is the foundation of all of his artwork. His images are often dark, haunting, and unsettling. They are also refreshingly unfiltered and aesthetically beautiful in form and composition. This combination is mesmerizing. And, like all significant works of art they have the potential to transform the way we perceive and understand the human experience.
“I am a firm believer in the validity and necessity of artwork that pushes the envelope of visual descriptive feelings by those with mental and physical impairments.” ` David Feingold
Feingold explains, “My artwork began as personal, self-therapy, to help process my accidental coming out of having bipolar disorder during a manic phase. My art has a purpose –to bring attention to the inner struggle of having a mental illness… I am particularly interested in breaking the stigma of mental illness and bringing attention of the inner struggles and challenges of those with disabilities to public awareness.”
He also assures us, “My bipolar and seizure disorders have been kept in check now for a number of years thanks to modern medicine, a great psychiatrist, supportive family members, and sheer determination.”
The artist received a Bachelors degree in Art Education from Southern Illinois University, a Masters in Visual Design from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and a Doctorate in Disability Studies from National Louis University. His Doctoral dissertation is entitled, “Beyond Words: Discovering the Bipolar Impaired Self Through Visual Imagery.”
His purpose: “To increase societal understanding of and empathy towards those of us who struggle not only to survive, but thrive with mental illness.”
On his website Feingold shares a video of a presentation he gave at the 15th Annual Second City Disability Studies in Education Conference in Chicago. He states, “The video consists of my narrative and artwork set to music, providing an introduction of the Impaired Self. Learning about the Impaired Self leads to increased understanding and empathy towards children and adolescents who must deal with disabilities and impairments. It helps explain their difficulty in the areas of behavioral, social and emotional everyday functioning. Older children and adolescents can also develop better self-esteem, seek personal successes and accomplishments having knowledge and understanding of their experiences associated with the Impaired self.”
Feingold affirms that art is a catalyst for transformation. “I am a firm believer in the validity and necessity of artwork that pushes the envelope of visual descriptive feelings by those with mental and physical impairments. Sugarcoating visuals doesn’t teach non-disabled people about those painful moments of being confronted with one’s own impairments and disabilities. The purpose of such visuals is not to shock, but to enlighten and to continue building a bridge toward understanding, empathy and acceptance.”
I am honored and grateful to have met David Feingold as a result of the “Hot Topics – Bold Expressions” exhibition and I am grateful for his commitment “to increase societal understanding of and empathy towards those of us who struggle not only to survive, but thrive with mental illness.”
Visit David Feingold’s website http://www.feinart.me/