“Artist with an MD”—that is the goal of Patricia Marie Cortez, a senior at Ateneo De Manila University. The aspiring doctor also wants to succeed as an artist whose works help ease the pain of people dealing with mental illness.
In a country where those suffering from depression and anxiety are labeled drama queens or outright crazy, Cortez paints for those who can’t speak about their struggles, for fear of being judged by family members, friends and society.
Her works are posted on facebook.com/artistherapy2017, a page which advocates art as one of the many ways to cope with mental illness. The page also promotes mental health awareness as people who deal with chronic stress and anxiety may find it therapeutic to relate to the struggles of others and find comfort in inspiring quotes and visual art.
Many of her pieces depict the experiences of depression and the mental and emotional exhaustion that haunts today’s generation. People say that the youth doesn’t have the right to complain about the difficulties of life, much more be depressed about it. But high expectations from parents and peers, the lack of social support, and being in a competitive and toxic environment can trigger various forms of mental illness.
Adept at different types of media (pencil on paper, acrylic on canvas, watercolor), Cortez doesn’t just capture the “empty, vulnerable and raw” feeling of depression, she also paints images of nature—landscapes and seascapes rendered in vibrant colors and richly textured strokes that have an uplifting effect on everybody.
E-mail the artist at [email protected]