Thinking in black and white: Local artist brings awareness to mental health through multi-year project | Journal-news
The Type4me project launched by the artist, a combination of many facets by Ashley Kincaid, has been shedding light on mental health since 2015. The future Berkeley Springs resident and current Winchester resident has maintained the project over the years as a way to raise awareness of black and white thinking in people with mental illness.
“I started doing this in 2015 to promote my art and develop hand and typography skills,” said Kincaid. “But I changed it over the course of the project. I do all the pieces in black and white, and it encourages the black and white thinking that people with mental illness experience.
“It was always black and white, but over the years I’ve just contacted various people with mental illness who are online. I reach out to them and work with them to create works of art for them, ”said Kincaid.
“I volunteered at the Laurel Center in town, so I know what domestic violence victims can experience after these intimate partner crimes,” said Kincaid. “I also studied psychology in college for a while. It’s just a kind of marriage for all the things that interest me. “
Much like her own skills as an artist over the past six years, the project has also evolved. The black and white style shows the extreme thinking that can take place – Kincaid nods particularly to major trauma, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. Her artistic style itself is a method that can bring peace to people with anxiety or depression.
“It was interesting to see my following grow, and in the beginning I had simpler designs,” said Kincaid. “Over the years I’ve really found my artistic style. I use a method called “zen tangling” in my work and it is really good for people with anxiety or depression because it gives you that meditative state that some people talk about when they do yoga. It is the repetition of shapes and lines in things. “
She later added the importance of understanding the psychology behind her work: “I think it is important to go into the psychological aspect because black and white thinking occurs after trauma. Before trauma, most people think in gray areas where something bad might happen to you in one day, but it doesn’t make the whole day bad. After experiencing severe trauma – like victims of domestic violence or people with PTSD, things like that – it’s very hard to see the grayscale. “
Kincaid joined Winchester as a new artist in 2015 and graduated from Shenandoah University in 2014. She has built a small fan base that really highlights the goodness of her job. Kincaid shares her black and white pieces on Instagram under the handle @ type4me and has made pieces for individuals across the country, including a man in Louisiana who runs The Bipolar Bachelor podcast.
Kincaid is finding herself more and more in art and as the owner of AK Design is reminded of her roots in creativity, to develop these skills and this passion at a young age.
“I’ve always been artistic. I’ve been creative since I was a kid because I grew up with my mother, ”she said. “I went to school to be a graphic designer, but I graduated from Shenandoah with a degree in mass communication.”