Date of Graduation
Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies
Art and Design
schizophrenia, surrealism, dreams, photography, installation, mental illness, PTSD, addiction
Art and Design | Arts and Humanities | Interdisciplinary Arts and Media | Photography
My art deals with mental illness, particularly schizophrenia, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), and addiction.
It is how I work out the problems in my relationships and within my head. My art is where I explore
ideas, alternate possibilities, my dreams, and my fears. Drawing inspiration from photographers such as
Jerry Uelsmann, Richard Avedon, and Irving Penn; painters like Caravaggio, Picasso, and Bacon, as well as,
concepts from the Surrealists and the Futurists, the art I produce is dream-like: familiar objects in unrelated
places. The work that I create stems from years of working with patients in their most acute states. For over
a decade in an Adult Inpatient Psychiatric Unit, I worked with, and cared for those with mental illnesses.
I was drawn to those who were suffering from Schizophrenia. I might be close enough to relate, touched
enough to understand, or just insane enough to get a sense of their worlds. I use several juxtaposed images to
replicate both movement and multiple points of a figure. This approach shows the struggle that I witnessed
in patients and the frustration that I had in trying to go where I couldn’t. Within a stack of juxtaposed images,
I display various states of the fight I have with the situation; anger, helplessness, exhaustion, defeat, and
acceptance. It is a terrible position not to be able to reach someone who needs help. We often end up harming
ourselves in our attempts to save them.
© Neal G. Polallis
Polallis, Neal G., "Not All Dreams Are Nightmares, Not All Nightmares Are Dreams" (2020). MSU Graduate Theses. 3523.