‘The Open Door’ is my interpretation of the adventures of Alice in her wonderland. It’s driven by mental health. I will always do my research into each subject and that is what resonated with me with the links to the mental health side to the original story. The insecurities that Alice faced, being scared of adults etc. That was the driving force behind this piece. Everyone is touched by mental health in so many different ways and with so many different outcomes and contributing factors.
For me what is so interesting is what do you see when you stand there looking into that scene? Do you see an enchanted forest with the light trying to push through the fog or are you actually under water? Are they reeds and weeds with the jelly fish etc.? What I’ve done is try to trick you because I didn’t just want this to become a ‘Tim Burton’ type piece, there are parallels to my work and that’s why I love his films. The Jelly fish are there instead of toadstools, you can see the similarities with their shape but for me it was the idea of them swaying, with everything moving. That’s the idea when you’re in that state of mind and things are so intense and almost giddy, everything starts to sway, it becomes too much, a bit surreal. Or you can just look at it like you’re off your head! How do you interpret it?
Everything is littered out around you, the pressures that you face that will help you fall down. Like the drink, the oversized macaroon, they’re all symbolic. The mirror links to my ‘Snow White’ piece from this collection. It’s what you see looking back at you. ‘You’re too small’, ‘I’m too big’, ‘I’m mad’. It’s these things that you’re either told or tell yourself. Another link with that piece is that my concept with the ‘Queen of Hearts’ is actually Alice, that it’s a split personality. It’s her darkness that is trying to push her back down that rabbit hole and keep her there. It’s just me trying to put my take on it.
The door being central is key, the door to reality. It just shows how close that is to wherever you are and however far down you are. It’s how easy it is to fall back down. Amongst all of the darkness there is this lovely detail like the butterflies that I use so much to represent being free that are coming out from the shadows and rising up. There is so much to seek out and interpret, what does this picture mean to you?
I’ve loved creating this piece, it’s the widest scene that I’ve done and that’s for a reason. If you imagine when you are stood there, as I put you in the position of every ‘Storyteller’ piece, it’s how much you can take in that is in your line of vision. The key message is no matter how far down you are, how far gone you think you are; this sense of hope and help is always there, and nothing is ever truly impassable.