Updated: Friday, 16th November 2018 @ 3:41pm

Don't understand mental illness? Manchester artist invites you INTO her 'tormented' mind

Don't understand mental illness? Manchester artist invites you INTO her 'tormented' mind

| By Stefan Mackley

A Manchester artist is looking to create a piece of contemporary art that will tackle the ‘taboo’ of mental health issues and help those battling their inner demons.

Lizz Brady is hoping her project ‘Broken Grey Wires’ will tap into what she sees as a gap in the contemporary art world by providing a ‘constant ally’ for people needing help and reassurance.

And the 25-year-old has drawn from her own experiences to ensure that her latest creation can tackle the 'stigma' surrounding mental health.

“I’ve got Borderline Personality Disorder and my artwork is all about how I cope with that,” she told MM.

“With my previous pieces, I get the audience involved to experience the same emotions that I’ve been through such as paranoia, hallucinations and anxiety.

“I’ve been in and out of hospital because of my illness and with this project I wanted to help other people that are struggling with mental health problems.

“There has been a great reaction to it as I’ve been open about my illness.”

It was while studying Fine Art at the University of Lincoln and battling her own illness that Lizz came up with the concept of Broken Grey Wires.

“During particularly hard times, art is a constant ally. I have ambitious ideas and use my journals to jot down designs for large installations, draft emails to important art institutes and write poetry to help make sense of the thoughts inside my head,” she said.


V FOR VICTORY: Broken Grey Wires aims to tackle mental health issues

“While at university, one line was prominent and became the catalyst for Broken Grey Wires.

“’The flapping of the wings made a deafening sound and my head split open to reveal nothing, only spiders, tiny black spiders and broken grey wires, maybe a little dust’.

“It is where the original seed for the project was planted, a moment of torment which flowed into a piece of poetry which helped me make sense of my emotions.”

The Manchester-based artist has already exceeded her initial target of £1,500 using a Crowdfunder page to fund the project – which will take place across three stages.

The initial stage will see the creation of a website which will bring together all the research material and be permanently available for people to access.

Stages two and three will be the exhibition itself and workshops where people can go and see the exhibition and hear from others who have had their own experiences with mental health problems.


FIXING: The project is debuting in Glasgow and could be heading to Manchester or Liverpool

The project has now scooped £1,755 with 11 days to go.

Working alongside artist and curator Mike Chavez-Dawson, the contemporary art project, which is a Cartesian Dualism (a link between physical and thinking ‘stuff’ through the building of installations), has also received support from a host of other established and internationally-acclaimed artists.

Stuart Semple, Jeremy Deller – winner of the Turner Prize in 2004 – and Scottish duo Beagles and Ramsay are just some of the artists helping with the project and sharing their experiences of mental health.


BREWING UP SOLUTIONS: The diverse work shows many sides to the subject (©David Shrigley with thanks)

And prior to the project even being created, Lizz is delighted that it is already helping people.

“The project is open with mental health issues and the taboo around it is discussed.

“There has been a lot of interest in the project especially from other artists who have been going through a bad time.

“One person got in touch with me and said they had tried a few suicide attempts but after they had seen my project they have been inspired by it and want to do a similar project.

“So I’ve been emailing and Facebooking him and this is before the project has even been created.”

It’s not just other artists that are offering support, as Premier League football club Everton have also given their backing to the project.

And Lizz is confident that her project can make a difference to those who are suffering in silence and afraid to speak out about their problems.

“It’s really important that people feel they can relate to something,” said Lizz.

“That’s what we want – a place where people can come and talk about it, it sounds really easy but for a lot of people it can be very hard to talk about it.

“One in four people go through it and talking about it is the main thing.”

Broken Grey Wires is set to exhibit at Glasgow’s Pipe Factory while a second location in either Manchester or Liverpool has also been discussed.

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Main image courtesy of Stuart Semple with thanks