In Stitches

Meet Michelle Kingdom, another introvert artist with a new twist on an existing art form.

An embroidered panel of a woman in a field of flowers, carrying a sewing machine;

Her horizon seemed to her limitless


She doesn’t say she’s an introvert, but when she talks about the privacy of her unique art – well, we can read between the lines. And once you see her images, and her titles – which are a very important part of her work – there can be no doubt. Those who think of introverts as loners may be surprised that most of her pieces include more than one person, and that even when they appear to be inwardly focused, she portrays them as interconnected.
An embroidered picture of several women facing away from each other, but with threads connecting them at the feet, hands and heads.

Duties of gossamer

An embroidered image of a middle-aged woman standing with her eyes closed and hands folded. There is a large circular hole in her middle, through which you can see a smaller, younger girl in the background. Tree branches covered with white blossoms frame the woman's head and shoulders.

Little by little there was scarcely anything left

Sometimes, the carefully chosen titles say it all. Other times, they are intimate, yet cryptic, implying unspoken details beyond the edges of the scene, or multiple possible stories, with the context left open for the interpretation of the beholder.

Most intriguingly of all, these works are tiny, barely as wide as a woman’s hand.

I’m such a wordy person. I always have been. Words pour out of me like spring snow melt racing down a mountainside. Which is why I understand so very deeply and completely all of the things that words can’t do.

Turbulence

I’ve always believed Van Gogh was a depressive, probably with seasonal affective disorder (complicated by alcohol and perhaps absinthe addiction). This Upworthy post illustrates his instinctive comprehension and reproduction of a principal that still challenges scientists in one of his most famous paintings. What a stirring example of the connection between “neurotic personality” and creativity, which I wrote about recently. I was struck to learn that this painting was one of numerous works representing the view from his asylum window – a window which was barred. Talk about seeing beyond the limitations of the current moment! Don’t miss the video at the bottom of the post.
Van Gogh's painting, starry night, with clouds and stars that swirl

Do We Have to Draw You a Picture?

If you’re about ready for a laugh, I’m pretty sure you’ll find one somewhere in this set of introvert-related cartoons from artist Aaron Caycedo-Kimura.

Cartoon of solitary bird watching sunrise and thinking, "Catching the worm was great. But all this time away from the flock? Priceless."

But wait, there’s more! Here’s his INFJoe site, with more cartoons. What a coincidence – I’m an INFJ (except when I’m an INFP). And the blog theme he’s using (Dusk to Dawn) was the theme I used on my first WordPress blog. I especially like The Scope of Socializing. Also Awkward Walk. And Passing the Phone (somebody stop me before I link them all…)

Depression Inside Out

There are many depictions of non-usual mental states in story and song, including some excellent first-person representations of mental disorders. Edgar Allan Poe, for example, is famous for his accounts of psychotic breaks in the first person. Sometimes we know we are witnessing “madness,” as Poe called it, but sometimes these descriptions are framed as something else. Continue reading

Anxiety

A hand drawn picture of a smiling woman, with the writing: when anyone asks me about anxiety, I always compare it to...

Anxiety is often lumped in together with depression, but it’s its own separate thing. You can have either one without the other. However, one thing “depression” and “anxiety” have in common is that they are both words that refer to a passing mood in the general parlance, so that people who have never experienced the mental disorder think they know what it’s like when they really have no idea. Kind of like the way non-noise-sensitive non-HSPs think we hear what they hear, and can’t understand why their leaf blower or barking dog is driving us bonkers.

Check out this illustrated explanation of anxiety from the inside, by artist Sophie Wright.

We need to stop using the same words for passing moods and full-blown mental disorders.

We need to stop using the same words for passing moods and full-blown mental disorders. It not only keeps people who don’t have the mental disorder from understanding people who do, it keeps people who do have it from recognizing it. I thought (and spoke) of myself, deprecatingly, as “a worrier” for years, as if it was some kind of amusing personality quirk. Even now, I often forget that for most of my 35 years as an undiagnosed depressive, I was also racked with anxiety about pretty much everything, every single day.

If you agree, email this post to your favorite research psychologist, or better yet, to the American Psychiatric Association, which publishes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in which psychiatric conditions are named.

I Don’t Mind Being Famous as Long as Nobody Knows Who I Am

These days, I am always running into things that scream “introvert.” The work of Korean artist, Jee-Young Lee is a perfect example. First of all, she has created her own artform. She builds the installations in her tiny studio, and then photographs them. The photograph, a step removed, becomes the art, not the original installation. Ingeniously introverted, no?
resurrection-jeeyoung-lee
If that isn’t enough to convince you, click on the picture to see more of her work. She is in her own scenes, but always in the background, facing away from the viewer (and always alone). She reveals herself on her own terms, sans interaction.

Then I stumbled across this artist on SNL:
I had never heard of Sia before, and I couldn’t even tell what language she was speaking (Australian English, as it turned out). The contrast between the visceral creative force expressed through her voice, and her withdrawn physical presence was most intriguing. I felt like I was watching an avant garde performance straight out of the 60s.

What do you think? Am I just seeing introverts everywhere because I am one, or am I on to something?