Well-known Spartanburg artist Bailie’s abusive childhood – one without a father figure – profoundly affected his life, leading to his seeking therapy, which in turn inspired him to put the spotlight on mental illness through his art.
His multimedia exhibit, “In the Midst of a Trauma,” will be on display May 4 through 29 in the Solomon Gallery at the Artists Collective | Spartanburg.
Bailie hopes viewers of the 42-piece exhibit will get an insight into several different mental illnesses as well as his own journey to recovery.
“I hope the show encourages people to come forward with their illnesses and not hide them,” says Bailie, a volunteer at the Artists Collective. “I want the exhibit to let them know it’s ok to have a mental illness and it’s not something to be held in the dark any longer. I hope by people seeing me come forward, it will convince them to, as well. I want to help people feel comfortable talking about it.”
For the project, Bailie interviewed six people, all with different mental disorders. “For each subject there will be an encaustic painting of them as well as a 12-question interview,” he explains. “There also will be sculptural representations of their disorders along with statistics and information about each. All who were interviewed were pre-screened by a professional therapist.”
Also included will be a display showing how Bailie’s own trauma evolved and affected him throughout his life. These will include paintings, drawings and multimedia pieces. “My hope is that by revealing my own experience, others will be inspired to get treatment instead of spending a lifetime in anguish.”
The local community is supporting the project with several public and private donations, which Bailie hopes will make it possible for the multimedia works to become a traveling exhibit reaching more people. The Carolina Center for Behavioral Health and Mental Health American of Spartanburg County also are supporting and donating to the exhibit.
The works are a departure from Bailie’s usual works. “Normally my work is dark, fun and whimsical, but never expressions of emotions,” he says “This is the first body I have ever done from my soul expressing how I feel inside.
“If I save one person, I win,” he adds.
Samples of the works as well as more information on the exhibition can be found at Facebook.com/bailiestudios.
Bailie, a Georgia native, owns Bailie Studios in Spartanburg. He is on the South Carolina Arts Commission roster of approved artists in education, a former resident artist at the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind and former assistant director of the Colors program at the Spartanburg Art Museum. He has taught publicly and privately for 20 years and currently is an adjunct professor at Wofford College.