Description Recovery from mental illness is hard. I remember the enlightening moment when my daughter, Ashley, told me that recovering is almost harder than the illness itself. I really couldnt understand that at all. When she was mentally ill, so many things happened that put her life in danger and she wasnt taking care of herself at all. We always worried wed get that dreaded call that something terrible had happened to her. How could recovery be worse? She explained it to me. How hard it is to suddenly be clear-eyed and view your life after mental illness. You actually cared about your life again, but you looked around and it was like a bomb had gone off. You didnt recognize the landscape anymore. Losing friends, being behind in school and in life. Ordinary things like having a job, paying bills, adult tasks, seemed so far away. Then there was the guilt. Guilt of having to be cared for, guilt for behavior you couldnt control at the time. It all comes flooding back to you. Every. Single. Day. A new guilt, a new thing that had to be repaired. While mentally ill, none of this stuff mattered. Recovery was different. Now you care almost too much, the guilt just feeling like its crushing you. It can be overwhelming at times. But not insurmountable. Her words really opened my eyes. This is where family and friends support comes in. It is crucial to someone recovering. How many times did I wonder why she wasnt able to do certain things when she was feeling so much better?Now how do I put this knowledge I gained into a painting? I was inspired by a painting I saw of a sad cherub. When I saw it, the wide-eyed, baby-like face, it was haunting. It struck me that this is how I envisioned the first steps of recovery. A self-awaking like an innocent baby, but carrying the heavy baggage of a person who had truly suffered. The yellow rose with the eye symbolizes a new beginning, one that is clear-eyed and in-tune with reality. You cant get your life back until you reach this point
Juli Cady Ryan, Cincinnati, Ohio Member Since July 2007 Artist Statement Juli Cady Ryan was born and raised on a farm in Northwestern Indiana, in the small town of LaPorte. Her experiences growing up with a mother, then later with her children with mental illness influenced her art greatly. A self-taught artist, Juli used her own struggles and her family’s to create whimsical paintings filled with color and hope. She wanted to be a voice for those suffering with mental illness.
Juli now resides in Cincinnati, OH, where she has lived for 27 years. She started painting using acrylics and was influenced by both Gustav Klimt’s colorful shapes and Marc Chagall’s use of color and whimsy. Recently, she has started to use materials in a nontraditional, uncontrolled, free-flowing way often mixed with unconventional materials, creating backgrounds of color and shapes.
Juli’s art has sold internationally and has been featured in several publications and exhibits nationally including exhibits in Los Alamos, NM, Springfield MO and Red Bluff, CA. Her most recent exhibit was at the Westheimer Gallery in Sharonville, OH May 3-25, 2019. She has also self-published a children’s book, The Sleep Fairy and Her Magic Sheep, a children’s bedtime story.