Explorations of Mental Health in Art

This week, the UK honours Mental Health Awareness Week, with this years’ theme surrounding the idea of movement, and the many benefits physical activity can have on our mental health.

With this week approaching, the Enter Gallery team started chatting about artists who’ve openly explored mental health in their art, whether via depictions of their own inner conflicts, or artworks designed to let people know that they’re not in it alone.

Our list of artists was extensive, with primary examples being some of the most infamous in art history, from Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo, to Edvard Munch and Francis Bacon.

The Scream, Edvard Munch, 1893. 

It’s no wonder that mental health has been explored by artists for centuries. After all, the act of creation is a deeply personal practice, an opportunity to express how you feel via the things that you create, and a way to forge connection in a world where it’s so easy to feel alone.

In today’s blog, we’re taking a look at what studies have said about the link between mental health and creativity, and diving in to how some of Enter Gallery’s artists have explored these themes in their own practice.

Frida Kahlo, The Wounded Deer, 1946.

A Look Back in History

Dipping our toe into this topic, it’s clear that people have been considering the link between mental health and creativity since back in the days of the Ancient Greeks.

In fact, their most famous philosopher, Aristotle, seemed to be one of the first to consider the idea of the ‘creative genius’, putting forth the idea that those in possession of said ‘genius’, actually had a physiological quality that facilitated both, ‘extraordinary achievement and extraordinary melancholy.’

Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1889.


In the centuries since, numerous studies have dived into the topic, discovering interesting links between specific types of mental illness and those working in creative occupations.

By its very nature, mental health shapes how people see the world, giving them a capacity to view things in original ways - and it seems it is this unique world view that often correlates into great art.

Whether its Van Gogh’s starry skies, Mark Rothko’s use of colour, or Edvard Munch’s hellscapes, one thing they have in common is that their art uniquely reflects their personal experience of the world around them.


Enter Gallery Artists

Ed Ruscha

Across the many decades of his career, L.A artist, Ed Ruscha, has gained a reputation for perfectly capturing the turbulence of the human mind.


In works like Turbo Tears, and Thinks I, To Myself, Ruscha uses typography that appears hurried across the canvas, exploring our emotions’ power and capacity to overwhelm, and the persistence of intrusive thoughts in our fast-paced world. 



View artworks by Ed Ruscha



Copyright is Bristol-based street artist known for exploring life’s highs and lows. Via murals and limited edition prints, Copyright creates works designed to remind people they are not alone.


In works like Everything's FineBreakdown and Rebuild, and Reflected, Dark Sky and Reflected, Blue Sky, Copyright explores the complexities of the human brain, and the challenges of physical and mental recovery.


View artworks by Copyright


Marcelina Amelia

Marcelina Amelia is a Brighton-based artist known for her personal exploration of longing, anxiety and the tensions of being human that define our lives.  


In these gorgeous portraits, often alive with vivid colour as in How to Fill the Void, Amelia takes us on an intimate journey, diving into themes of purpose, self-acceptance, and the complexities of becoming a mother.


View artworks by Marcelina Amelia


Mr Preston

Manchester-based tattoo artist and illustrator, Mr Preston is known for an oeuvre which explores, ‘the melancholy of suburbia and modernity.’

Using macabre imagery and black humour, Mr Preston’s existential works dive into themes of depression, anxiety and loneliness.


View artworks by Mr Preston


Euan Roberts

Hastings-based artist, Euan Roberts, is known for an oeuvre defined by simplicity, colour, and a fun cast of animal characters designed to remind us to exist in the present moment.

In a world often all too dark, Roberts’ works, including his viral piece, I’m OK, are created to raise awareness around mental health. His works are designed to encourage people to check in on friends and family that might be having a bad time...an idea that we can all take forward, into Mental Health Awareness Week and beyond.


View artworks by Euan Roberts