For Michael, art is therapy

For Michael, art is therapy

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Gosnells artist Michael Byrne’s with his latest mural that illustrates a tree that creates a woman’s face with its branches. Photograph — Aaron Van Rongen.

A Gosnells artist battling with depression wants to inspire and help the community to look forward by using art to open up discussions surrounding mental health.

For generations art has run in Michael Byrne’s family but, for the 41-year-old man, art has given him sanity.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Byrne has been struggling with his mental health more than before while his need to paint is stronger than ever.

Unfortunately, the current climate has put a stop on his work but the managing director of Bluemouse Art has dedicated some of his time splashing murals across the City of Gosnells.

“I have been painting for as long as I can remember growing up with learning difficulties, I was never book smart but always excelled in the arts,” he said.

“I’ve only really got into it a few years ago whilst dealing with major depression and anxiety due to unemployment and being a victim of crime and then the passing of my father.

“It’s a great distraction and a way to get my feelings and thoughts out in a constructive rather than a destructive way…. not that I always do it, I am still learning and fall back into destructive behaviours at times.”

Just like his 11-year-old son Leif who put together an exhibition at the Art Vs Depression Drop Zone 13 studio in December last year, Mr Byrne is planning to put together a collection of artworks in collaboration with other artists for an upcoming exhibition.

“Art very much runs through my entire family, my son is an amazing artist and that’s not just a proud dad saying that he has a natural instinct.

“He came home one day from school and as a parent you just know something was bothering him but wouldn’t talk about it later on he asked if he could do a painting and during this he opened up that a kid at school had been picking on him and that he want
ed to punch him, so he came home and did a painting.

“From there he did more and spent time with my mate Gracey from Art vs Depression and learnt from him and me about different styles and the stories behind our art – his self-esteem went up to the roof.

“So, I would love to hold an exhibition at some stage for artists who have and are dealing with mental health issues and substance abuse.

“Not just so the public can hear their story but also as a way of lifting the artist themselves and giving them some positivity.

“I have always wanted to help others and hopefully my art can inspire, I must stress it is just another tool to use, like me people that are struggling need to rely on family, friends and more importantly professional help, it’s nothing to be ashamed about.”

To get in touch with Mr Byrne call 0423 591 873.

If you are struggling with mental health call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.