I Am Not A Child: Artist helps to raise awareness of mental health in the young

In his series, I Am Not A Child, contemporary fine art painter Dale vN Marshall aims to help raise awareness of mental health in the young, drawing inspiration from the time he spent painting and talking with teenagers in Edinburgh who live with conditions such as anxiety, ADHD, autism and circumstantial trauma.

Originally a graffiti artist who sprayed paint on the streets of Bristol under the tag 'Vermin’, Marshall was once sectioned in one of Britain's oldest psychiatric hospitals, St Lawrence's in Cornwall. He draws inspiration not only from his graffiti days, but also from his time at St Lawrence's and from his studio in a former Victorian workhouse in Wales, redolent of suffering and poverty.

For his latest work, Marshall arranged to work with performance poet, Jenny Lindsay and Edinburgh-based theatre company, The Acting Scene, in order to stimulate a shared experience and raise awareness of mental trauma. The emotions expressed were remarkable with the children commenting, "we have to play roles in life to get by and I have a lot of thoughts but I’m afraid I’ll be put down". The concept of being listened to, but not being heard was a strong component of Dale’s time with these teenagers. What they chose to reveal about their lives and Marshall’s own experiences come together to produce a powerful and emotional body of work.

The series of multimedia artworks consist of a symbolic language of abstract expression, text and mark-making, using materials ranging from needles, threads, acrylic, wax crayons and watercolours as a language to tell his compelling story.

You can view his latest work at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on High Street, Edinburgh from today until Saturday 3 September 2016. For more information visit www.tracscotland.org.

Via direct submission | All images courtesy of Dale vN Marshall