Dean Crozier has been creating art for years, but only found the courage to exhibit at the Recovered Futures Art Exhibition in 2021. It was a leap of faith that would pay off in dividends.
“The subject matter of this exhibition was attractive, as a lot of my work deals with mental health issues. To even have my pieces displayed was a big deal, as you’re really putting yourself and your story out there. To see those two red dots was even better! I like what I do, and to have someone completely objective say that they also like my work, well, that does bolster your self-esteem.”
While he’s always been a creative individual, Dean started with his current distinct style of art around three years ago, following a heart-wrenching diagnosis of HIV.
“That whole experience affected my mental health greatly, I was experiencing anxiety and deep depression which was suicidal. I found that painting was particularly helpful at that time, as it was a great way of expressing what was going on inside.”
Dean finds his style of work quite meditative as he tends to draw straight onto the canvas then use a tiny brush to layer paint. The end result differs drastically depending on your perspective.
“Some of my work appears quite depressing to me because I know how I was feeling when I created it. But others find their own meaning in the abstract lines and shapes, which is great. That’s something I love about art; it can mean many different things to different people.”
Dean, who works as a ward clerk in a children’s hospital, says that while mental health difficulties never fully subside, there are steps to achieving balance and stability in his life.
“My workplace knows all about my mental health issues and are supportive when I need a bit of extra flexibility. Art is a constant in my life; my easel is never without a canvas on it. And therapy, of course, where I learn more productive coping tools and techniques with every session. It’s all important in helping me stay mentally well.”
|"Isolation" by Dean Crozier on display at the 2021 Recovered Futures Art Exhibition.|
Dean enjoyed being part of Recovered Futures Art Exhibition, saying it’s been a unique and highly valuable experience.
“What I found fascinating, going through the exhibition, was knowing that everyone has gone through a similar journey. Not the same, but there are shared experiences. Looking at the artwork, you could see that people were at various points on that journey too – some were regaining control and others were still unmoored, like ships at sea. It was an honour to be in such good company.”