Artist Brooke Tiley Hamence.

By JOHN DOOLEY

THE burden of dealing with mental health issues falls on many people in our society, and for local artist Brooke Tiley Hamence it is a day-to-day journey.

Brooke has found solace and peace in her passion for art, opening her second exhibition at Gallery F on Wednesday night.

 Entitled ‘Once Upon a Borderline,’ Brooke’s work is as striking as it is diverse, and visitors to the Gallery will be captivated by the powerful emotion portrayed in each of her works.

Brooke is very open about her life dealing with mental health.

“For my whole life I have struggled with mental illness, and I have only been able to cope in my own world because I wasn’t able to express myself by talking, and so I have done it through drawing,” she said.

For many people suffering from depression, art provides a wonderful therapeutic outlet and release for them, helping to ease the debilitating effects of their condition. 

Brooke said that things that may be lingering beneath the surface can be brought out through artistic expression.

“I couldn’t find another way, so I expressed my emotions through my art,” she said. “All I had ever wanted to be is an artist. Having said that, I find my mood changes when I’m painting.

“One minute it’s a release, and the next minute it’s almost like a burden – it’s become my job, so I have tried to make it both in my approach to my work and I find that it’s all linked itself together.”

The adage ‘that out of adversity comes greatness’ is a sentiment that seems to be present in Brooke’s art.

“Yes that’s true, and that’s terrifying,” Brooke said. “I like combining the idea – the duality of anxiety and joy together to create something different.”

Brooke said inspiration for her work can come at any time, and depending on what she is working on, it can be done quickly or it may take months.

“Sometimes it can take a couple of hours – sometimes it can take months – it just depends on the work,” she said.

Brooke keeps a journal of her work concepts in a big book reminiscent of a fairytale tome and it’s on display in the exhibition – hence the ‘Once Upon a (time)’ theme in the show’s title.

“I seem to draw from villains and respond to them with the heroic theme, the joy in being able to come out as one thing…and then turnaround and you are something completely different to other people, is something reflected in many of my pieces,” she said.

Brooke is a graduate in Visual Arts from La Trobe University and works from her home studio in Mildura, where she has produced a myriad of abstract works which can be seen at the Gallery up until April 27.

Gallery F is located at 31-33 Deakin Avenue, Mildura. Opening hours are Thursday 10am to 4pm; Friday 10am to 4pm; and Saturday 10am to 2pm.