Artistic expression has been an important part of Amy's life since her childhood. It became a means for her to express and to channel her struggles with mental illness.
Amy was born on April 3, 1986 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Her family relocated to Victoria, British Columbia, her current home, one year later. From an early age Amy's appreciation of art and her artistic abilities were nurtured from home. Amy's parents enrolled her into public school art classes, art focused summer camps, and into the Victoria College of Art where she took her first course in 1999.
Amy's artistic expression has been greatly influenced by her turbulent teenage years, marked by the early onset of bipolar disorder. Her mental illness created tension and discord in all areas of her life. Teachers and school administrators labeled her a troublemaker, her friendships were fractured, and she became the target of school bullies. As her confusion and inner turmoil increased, Amy's need to bring meaning and order to life led her to begin writing poetry. Shortly afterwards she also began to incorporate pen and coloured pencil drawings into her coping strategies. After many years marked by turmoil and struggle, including homelessness, drug abuse, and extended stays at psychiatric care facilities, Amy has succeeded in creating a stable, happy, and meaningful life.
Since 2011 Amy's art and writing have been published and in 2013 she was awarded the Heart Award for her website and its successful advocacy for those with mental illness. With time and with the help of an amazing support network, Amy's depression has faded and her highs have become easier to manage. Her artwork has become more than a coping technique, it has evolved into a career. Through her artwork, writing, public speaking, and website, Amy continues to promote awareness around mental illness.
For a list of mental health resources in Canada and the USA please click here.