Usually in mental health, people immediately associate Black with depression. It’s easy to understand why. So many folks live in the lack of color, write about the absence of light, of monsters, of darkness, that the two are irrefutably linked. With that linkagecomes a certain amount of “victim” perspective.
I propose a new way of looking at black in mental health though: That it can come from a place of power.
When I am creating art, I use black to denote darkness, it’s true, but also places where I want there to be a sharp transition or for something to stand out like this:
The idea here is that black has the transformative power to bring things into focus and that a certain amount of darkness in our lives can do the same thing. I’m certainly not suggesting that everyone should have to experience depression, or that only those who have can see the world as it is, but rather that everyone has touched the dark at one point and that darkness helps us to see the light just a little better.
Another way that I use Black in my art is as a gentle dividing line between differing areas of the same shade of color:
In this kind of instance, the lines are there to help to keep order and to help contain things. This is probably more specific to living with Bipolar Disorder, but having a certain amount of “black” to balance out the light is critical. It’s not the same as being depressed. It’s just all things in balance.
Black doesn’t always have to be just a bad thing in mental health. It has many other implications aside from the traditional image.
First image: t-shirt from torrid.com
Second and third images: original art by me.