My first post of 2017 is a tribute to Kendall Person and the healing power of community and collaboration.
Faith and a belief in one’s self worth is crucial to the recovery of someone with a serious mental health diagnosis.
Truly integrating people with psychiatric disabilities into society means respecting us enough to grant us access to the resources we need to heal
and fulfill our lives as people.
To give us a chance to collaborate and contribute where we can.
In Kendall Person’s Neighborhood I was accepted and treated with respect
which restored my sense of self-worth as an artist.
The videos I’ve worked on with Kendall and The Neighborhood have both involved the use of Virtual Reality to make illustrations.
The first video I worked on with Kendall was about a couple named Jack and Belinda.
As Kendall envisioned them, Jack and Belinda had always loved each other but had never met.
As the narrative evolved, Jack and Belinda are dead but Belinda doesn’t know.
Jack arrives to take Belinda up in a dance of ascension.
I spent a week making textures and sets in virtual reality.
I shot hundreds of high-resolution stills of avatars in different costumes and skins as they danced and became Jack and Belinda.
I’d send Kendall a test video and he critiqued it.
We often disagreed, but learning how to intelligently argue a point of view is an essential life skill and crucial to successfully coping with a chronic mental illness.
People with mental illness often become passive out of fear of alienating friends and treatment providers.
I had never made a video and only did so because of Kendall’s faith me.
The result was a 1 minute video called Jack and Belinda, the Ascension.
A couple of weeks ago Kendall asked me to give a short statement for
December’s closing performance, a one night only live-stream on Facebook.
My contribution was a short video in which I describe how I evolved a
healthier sense of self by describing the work I did with Kendall.
Imagine the power of living in a community of equals who nurture the
best in each other.
For the video below I went back to the raw shoots and chose the shots I considered the best as illustrations.
Jack and Belinda created by Kendall Person
Photography and video by Rob Goldstein