Mental image: Manchester artist turns tragic brother’s battle with schizophrenia and suicide into illustrative art

A Manchester-based cross-media scriptwriter is looking to reveal the realities of schizophrenia in tribute to her tragic brother.

Ravi Thornton’s collaborative project HOAX is based on a poem written by her late younger brother, Rob, who battled schizophrenia and eventually committed suicide in 2008 at the age of just 31.

The project will comprise of a graphic novel memoir called HOAX Psychosis Blues and a raw, dark musical HOAX My Lonely Heart – both written by Ravi.

Ravi said: “My brother’s manifestations of his illness were so immediate and yet at the same time so distant that I felt compelled to explore both of these extremes.”

HOAX Psychosis Blue is a personal and touching journey of a young man’s recovery, relapse and ultimate release while struggling with schizophrenia.

The memoir unfolds through the poems he wrote, in his own handwritten script, and is animated by multi-award winning comic and graphic artists from around the world.

Some of the multi-award winning artists are Bryan Talbot (The Adventures of Luther Arkwright), Rian Hughes (2000AD), Julian Hanshaw (The Art of Pho) as well as many more acclaimed authors and artists.

IT’S PERSONAL: Ravi is aiming to show her brother’s experience of schizophrenia

Ravi explained that the musical is very intense where as the graphic novel is much more reflective.

She added: “Ultimately, both pieces are very honest – yet I’ve been careful not to lay everything bare.

“Whatever impression these works may leave on the world of Rob, I hope they do him justice.

“He was a flawed and troubled man with a painfully beautiful mind – but more than this, he was my brother.”

The book has been described as ‘moving’ and has already received fantastic acclaim from critics.

Andy Oliver, from international comics news site Broken Frontier, described the book as a ‘hauntingly beautiful masterpiece.’

Whereas Dr Ian Williams, author and practitioner at the forefront of graphic medicine in the UK, said: “This is a moving and important work.

“A tale of schizophrenia could, in a lesser author, have led to melodrama, but Thornton’s sparse dialogue gives the reader plenty of space to fill in the gaps and work out the larger story, showing us Rob’s humanity rather than telling of the effects of his illness.”

The pre-launch book signingwas held at the Travelling Man Manchester on Saturday June 7.

HOAX My Lonely Heart’s 8pm musical premiere was also shown on the same day at the Royal Exchange Theatre.

Extracts of the graphic novel and downloads of the musical are available for free at Ravi’s website.

Related Articles