I’ve been working on a small series of artworks called Ink not Blood. The work is about using creativity to over come self-destructive urges – both self harming and suicide. This is a darker series of work, touching on topics that are very taboo in our culture. It was born out of my own struggles, and the way I have come to regard ink as a substitute for blood. I survived high school partly by writing poems down my arms. I also mean this in a broader sense. Being creative, not just being an artist, but to create anything draws me away from destruction. Ray Bradbury said it best:
“Those who don’t build, must burn.”
Or to put it another way, the desire to destroy is only the thwarted desire to create. Speak, express, scream if you need, but use ink, not blood.
Some people who self harm keep a ‘kit’ of their tools. My photo shows an example of such a kit, with a fountain pen in the centre as the alternative option. The blade and the pen mirror one another in length, shape and size. They are very similar in some respects, but the choice between them leads to completely different places in your life.