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Last Update: March 1, 2017

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Welcome to the Addiction and Art Website


Below are images of art works by some very generous artists. They choose to share the images and if you click an image you will find the image on your screen and you can save it. Also, the artists have provided some descriptions of their work and what it means to them.

If you download the images for use please remember to attribute the work to the artist. We have provided a caption for each image to help. Also, all the work and the write-ups on this site are covered by a Creative Commons license that is described in full at the bottom of this page. In short while you may download and print the images, you may not do so for commercial purposes.

The images are provided by AddictionAndArt.org and the Artists to help you educate others about addiction and what it can do to people.

If you are an artist and are inspired by the work you see here and want to share work from your portfolio click here to find out how to submit images to addictionandart.org.

 

Artists and Downloads



Parker Lanier

Parker Lanier
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Parker Lanier
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Parker Lanier
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Parker Lanier
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Parker Lanier
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To this question from ADDICTION BLOG: "Do you think that art should be a "practice", or should pieces of art come when they come, without pressure."

PARKER LANIER: "...to answer your question, it is a bit of a habit that so far as not lacked inspiration. I usually do not know where a drawing is going to go until I am half way in to it. I draw in roller ball pen and color my stuff with Sharpies. No sketches. I work without a net so to speak." - Parker Lanier - alcoholicoutsiderartist.blogspot.com


Frédérique Lanquetin

Frédérique Lanquetin
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"how does it make you feel"

From a series entitled "Portrait Allegoric", this picture depicts an actual conversation between the artist and the subject, a friend. The friend, who is depicted twice, sat smoking weed after explaining to the artist about her fight against heroin and LSD. - Frédérique Lanquetin (3/26/2012)


Mary Larson

Mary Larson
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Titie: "Look Momma"

Having family members that have overcome, and currently struggle with addiction, I know firsthand that everyone has a story. The line we walk between loving and enabling is at times very fine. But always we must love, and hope, and care - even when they can’t love themselves.

In this painting, I tried to convey that the innocence of the child allows him the curiosity and compassion to still see the individual as a person. As adults, we numb ourselves to people that don’t fit into what society has deemed "acceptable". This allows us to walk past someone on the street that may be living their "rock bottom". The businessman in this painting walks past without even noticing or missing a beat. The mother does not want to acknowledge or even address with her child the man sleeping in the church doorway; it makes her uncomfortable. However, the child not only sees the person, he is full of questions. He wants to know why the man is sleeping there, where he lives, why he is all dirty, and where is his momma? -- Mary Larson (9/13/2012)


Charlie Lewis (LOU)

LOU
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LOU
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LOU
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It was to take over thirty years of addiction for me to "discover" art, and to begin the road to salvation through it. No training. No prior interest in art and no inkling at all that such a potent means of expression remained latent within me until I was encouraged to use art as a form of therapy at a Rehabilitation Center in America in 2003.

Since that time I have transferred my addictive personality to creation rather than destruction, and my art has been a major part in me finding self worth in my recovery.

Title: Intensive Care 2002
Description: This is how I saw myself just before they took the tracheotomy out of my throat.

Title: Coming Round
Description: Self portrait of coming off a bender. Bewilderment.

Title: Swimming with solvents
Description: Sniffing glue, hairspray, Mr Sheen anything really to stay awake and the madness of the come down.

Charlie Lewis (LOU) (1/28/11)


Michael Little

Michael Little
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Titie: "CRACK KILLS!"

At night I used to go to the train yards and draw on the train cars to create a new look for them. I enjoyed this so much that I just kept doing it. As time went on, I got better and better. People see my drawings today, and they love them! They look for me to do sketches of subway trains for them. They also enjoy watching me as I work; they seem to be drawn to my art. They say that art is a window to the artist's soul, and I believe that's true. My art gives me hope and a really good feeling inside! My name is Michael Little. I am, and will always be, in recovery. Please, even if you forget everything else I've written here, remember the title. It's true, CRACK KILLS! CRACK KILLS! (2/21/2013)


Jessica Lokoff

Jessica Lokoff
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Titie: "The Darkest Side of the Moon"

Jessica Lokoff (1987-2016) This gel ink drawing was completed shortly before Jessica passed away. She depicted her struggle with her addiction to heroin. The turmoil it created in her and the release she felt when she used. Jessica lost her battle on February 6, 2016. Her family and friends will always love her and celebrate her life through her art. - Tanis Oakley (Jessica's Mother) (6/30/2016)


Trevor Louden

Trevor Louden
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Titie: "Enabler"

The Enabler is a character who exists in subject's more vulnerable moments. He is a timeless figure who seeks to give people what they want, whatever the cost. He is most easily accessed in semi conscious states, and he cannot make people physically do things. Yet he is responsible for a great deal of pain and suffering, serving the dark nightmares of others. He must be faced from within one's own soul, and defeated by bravery and genius. Trevor Louden (6/18/2014)


Kelly Lyles

Kelly Lyles
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Kelly Lyles
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Kelly Lyles
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Kelly Lyles
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Kelly Lyles
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Kelly Lyles
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Kelly Lyles
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Kelly Lyles
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Kelly Lyles
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Kelly Lyles
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Kelly Lyles
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Kelly Lyles
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Kelly's 12 Steps:

  1. "Seclusion" 2011 Oil/Mixed Media on Canvas 48" x 49"
  2. "ZZZZZZZZZZZ" 2009 Oil/Mixed Media on Illustration Board 20" x 30"
  3. "Where’s The Car?" 2008 Oil/Mixed Media on Canvas 23" x 29"
  4. "Life Of The Party" 2008 Oil/Mixed Mediaon Canvas Board 30" x 24"
  5. "Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty" 2010 Oil/Mixed Media on Illustration Board 30" x 20"
  6. "How Do You Spell Relief?" 2005 Oil/Mixed Media on Canvas 28" x 22"
  7. "Ladies Night" 2010 Oil/Mixed Media on Canvas 41" x 31"
  8. "Public Indecency" 2008 Oil/Mixed Media on Canvas 24" x 30"
  9. "I'll Be A Little Late..." 2009 Oil/Mixed Media on Canvas 21" x 31"
  10. "Who Are You?" 2010 Oil/Mixed Media on Board 31" x 23"
  11. "Uhhh, Will You Take A Check?" 2009 Oil/Mixed Media on Board 17" x 21"
  12. "You Have The Right To Remain Silent" 2010 Oil/Mixed Media on Canvas Board 23" x 25"

ARTIST'S STATEMENT: ‘The 12 Steps’

This series of 12 narrative paintings attempts to bring a more personal face to addiction, illustrating some all-too familiar scenarios of alcohol and drug abuse. I am a recovering alcoholic/addict with 25 years clean and sober. I know that addiction affects huge segments of the population, either personally or in relationships (romantic, familial or otherwise). My paintings are both universal and personal statements, combining humor and pathos in themes common to the disease. I’d like to both shock and amuse the viewers, familiarizing them with addiction while desensitizing the issue and removing some of the stigma.

The 12 paintings mimic the 12 Steps of many recovery programs. “WHO ARE YOU?” (awakening to a stranger), “I’LL BE A LITTLE LATE...” (in front of a car wreck), ‘SECLUSION’, (the addict’s stoned leer). ‘ZZZZZZ’ is a partyer passed out at the table. ‘HERE KITTY, KITTY, KITTY’ is an alcoholic chasing their pet in search of affection, which un-reciprocated could flip to rage. ‘LADIES NIGHT’ is 4 young women out on the town, just about to drive with more than their legal limit. Most alcoholics and addicts can say "Been there, done that" to several, if not many, of these scenarios. But, in recovery, there's as much laughter as tears in response to our common stories.

In terms of content, ‘THE 12 STEPS’ hearken to Edgar Degas’ ‘THE ABSINTHE DRINKER’ and Edouard Manet’s ‘UN BAR AUX FOLIES-BERGERES’, among others. The titles in sparkling letters are reminiscent of Byzantine mosaics and early Christian reflective surfaces. ”Glitter as it were with rays of light..”, a visual allusion to the illusory beauty, drama and flashiness promised - but rarely delivered - by drugs and alcohol. --Kelly Lyles http://www.kellyspot.com (2/11/2013)


Chelsea Mai

Chelsea Mai
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"No Smoking" came as a result of my desire to create an artwork to promote social change. I chose the theme because of my relatives who smoke, which has bothered me for a long time. I realized I wanted to produce a piece that would encourage them to quit smoking. Originally, the composition was only to include the male figure, but I decided to add the woman and child to symbolize the impact that smoking has on others. The face in the smoke echoes the desire for the smoker to quit his habit and the resulting anguish he feels over this anxiety. The style of the figures is similar to what is seen in animation and illustration. I chose this style in order to attract the viewer's attention yet, once the viewer considers the entire composition, he or she will understand the serious nature of this social problem. - Chelsea Mai (5/12/2011)


Katherine Mann

Katherine Mann
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Title: Jojo

"My paintings function as man-sized portholes into a landscape alive with minute details, patterns and interlocking systems. This is achieved through the conglomeration of tiny minutia piled and cobbled together to create the larger, overarching relationships that define the whole painting-usually organic forms that grow and breathe but also become overwhelmed with their own excess. The pieces explore the potentialities of growth, but also of overabundance. In Jojo, I began with the image and the idea of cancer cells. The Taiwanese word Jojo means "uncle", and the piece is a tribute to my uncle who died of liver cancer after battling alcoholism." --Katherine Mann (12/19/2011) www.katherinemann.net


Tamara Martin

Tamara Martin
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Title: "Adic" Mixed Media on a 8x10 canvas

Drugs are like band aids...they only serve a temporary purpose and never truly solve or heal any hurt. To live, to truly live, you must face the pain...remove the band-aid. And breathe again. -- Tamara Martin http://www.facebook.com/pages/Smilez/349199775113050 (5/17/2012)


Roberto Mendez

Roberto Mendez
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Roberto Mendez
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Title: "Help"

I wanted to convey how we can feel so helpless with our addictions. We hope that someone will reach out to help us. At the same time, we sink deeper into our addictions.

Title: "Fear"

You can see the things that we see with our addictions: creepy and scary things in our lives. We rely on substances or other means to escape from them, turning a blind eye to our situation.

--Roberto Mendez http://12rmendez.deviantart.com (4/18/2015)


Steve Meritt

Steve Meritt
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Title: "Excess Highway"

I painted “Excess Highway” because I have witnessed the repercussions from excesses with alcohol, drugs, and gambling that turned into addictions. As some of my family members were making their way down life’s road, their choices put them on a highway they never set out to travel. The stormy skies and fire are representative of the dark and hellish world they inhabited and brought to those who loved them. The clear skies over the road marked “one way” show that for all people struggling with addiction, I believe there is a way out and onto a road to recovery. – Steve Meritt www.imagesofmeritt.com (12/05/2013)


Maria Miller

Maria Miller
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Maria Miller
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Maria Miller
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Title: "2008"

Title: "Medina"

Title: "Dani v. Marie"

No statement submitted - Maria Miller (5/1/2011)


Kurt Moore

Kurt Moore
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Kurt Moore
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"ADDICTED: I have often used substances (alcohol, mainly) as substitutes for things I feel were lacking in my life. I was dependent on such substances, even though I knew they were keeping me from what I wanted. I have now learned to seek what I want, and not to be afraid."

"COCAINE: I have watched someone I cared about become addicted to illegal drugs, and I saw both the pleasure and the pain the addiction gave them. Thankfully, this person has since gone on to form a healthy relationship with another recovered user." - Kurt Moore (5/26/2011)


Elizabeth Landberg Morisette

Elizabeth Morisette
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May Cause Dizziness c. 2008 Pillbottles in wooden frame 18"x24"x3"

"This piece was created from bottles provided to me by strangers. I simply put a call out on the on-line community called Freecycle. What struck me was the amount of pills and bottles people had to give me. Do this many people really NEED this much medication? How does our dependence on medications lead to more dependence? I am reminded of a drug resistance program I was in when I was in Elementary School. It talked about how taking an aspirin, when you didn't really need it, could lead to becoming dependent on stronger drugs. Well, I am not sure of that, but I am sure that while drugs can help people live better lives, just as many people are rendered helpless because of their dependence upon them." -- Elizabeth Landberg Morisette - elmorisette.com - (1/28/11)


Ephraim Mugwaneza

Ephraim  Mugwaneza
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in exile

"My work, in exile, shows the depth of the sad situation addicted ones are in - something I, myself have experienced." - Ephraim Mugwaneza (3/1/2017)


Heather M. Murphy

Heather M. Murphy
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Title: "Needful Things"

To me, this image hits close to home, as I think it does anyone who has watched a loved one go through cancer treatments, or lost someone to cancer. Thankfully, my father has been in remission for 7 years now, but I know there are still so many who struggle with such needful things in their lives. I feel this image sums it up. -- Heather M. Murphy (9/13/23012)


Carrie Napora

Carrie Napora
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Carrie Napora
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Title: "The Hand that Feeds"

This image's meaning parallels Vendizotti"s "The Crow and the Serpent" fable. The crow, driven by hunger, seized a serpent, who twisted around, sinking venomous fangs into the crows' leg. The bird shrieked in pain, for the food he hoped would sustain his life had instead caused his death.

My experience of watching a loved one craze over what he thought he couldn't live without reminds me of this story, the moral being that when acting in one's own interest, consider the harm one's action may cause others, or risk coming to a miserable end...in his case, a suicidal death.

Title: "Distorted Sun"

I suppose the frustrations and pressures of life must all go away when you're high. The trouble is, the pseudo-world of reality, when consistently abusing, becomes confused with what is REALLY going on...the lies get deeper, more intricate. The pressure from friends and family pushes harder, you lose sight of what simple happiness is, what freedom means...loving yourself. I painted this abstract work with the anchor of one item, a straight-lined skeletal contrast to a muddled world. - Carrie Napora (5/12/2011)


Sue Nethery

Sue Nethery
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Sue Nethery
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Sue Nethery
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My three submissions make use of QR code technology to imbed additional information related to the overall piece. To make use of the codes, simply put your device over the QR code of your choice; you might have to zoom in too see them clearly.

Title: "ALONE"

This piece helps one identify with the isolation of addiction. The encoded messages within the overall image include:

  1. Addiction to drugs, including alcohol, is a disease, like diabetes.
  2. Alcohol was the first "drug" I tried.
  3. Approximately 10% of people who smoke marijuana will become addicted to it.
  4. Becoming clean and sober is just the first step in recovery, or getting well.
  5. Cocaine and crack use is often contributing factor in drownings, car crashes, falls, burns, and suicides.
  6. Cocaine use is a common cause of cardiac arrest.
  7. Drug withdrawal can cause physical pain and sometimes death.
  8. Marijuana use triples the chance of developing psychotic symptoms.
  9. No matter where you grow up, crystal meth can weasel it's way into your life.
  10. No one plans to become addicted.
  11. One in thirty second grade students have consumed alcohol to intoxication.
  12. People who smoke marijuana are statistically 4 times more likely to develop depression.
  13. The effects of crystal meth on a user's brain, body, and behavior are severe and long-lasting.

Title: "TEMPTATION"

"Temptation" reflects the perils of addiction. Temptations, and the relationships forged by those temptations, are a constant threat. Those struggling with addiction may find solace in faith. In "Temptation" there are 4 messages:

  1. Being clean and sober is just the first part of getting well.
  2. Two thirds of senior high school students report using alcohol at least once a month.
  3. Alcohol was the first "drug" I tried.
  4. No one plans to become addicted.

Title: "EPIPHANY"

"Epiphany" illustrates the transition into understanding. As the atom is the beginning of all life, realization is the beginning of recovery. "Epiphany" contains one message:

  1. Admitting you're addicted will be hard; you're letting the cat out of the bag. But it's an important first step.

-- Sue Nethery (4/13/2012)


Renee Richard Ouellette

Renee Richard Ouellette
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Renee Richard Ouellette
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Titles: "YES" "NO"

YES and NO is a " Traveling Exhibit " of 24 works, 12 depicting the concept of addiction and 12 showing the hope of permanent recovery. My inspiration comes from witnessing the changed lives of people in long-term recovery as well as my own.

The series conveys some of the following fundamental elements in the experience of addiction and recovery: 1) Desperation, 2) The Power, 3) People, 4) Personal Responsibility, 5) Hope, and 6) Options/Choices.

This website contains the entire series, as well as information for people interested in bringing the YES and NO "traveling exhibit" to a venue in their city. www.paintpaperinkstudio.com -- Renee Richard Ouellette B.F.A., M.A.E. (6/30/2011)


Valerie Patterson

Valerie Patterson
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Valerie Patterson
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Valerie Patterson
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Title: "Decisions" Watercolor

This image illustrates the power of relapse. The times of decision. To drink and relapse or to remain sober.


Title: "Distilled" Watercolor

The impact that the addict's behavior can have upon the family. The adult holds the bottle and turns away, wishing to deny the effects of his behavior. The middle figure, portrays "the loner" or lost child while the younger child in the forefront portrays "the clown" or distractor- demanding attention.


Title: "Drowning" Watercolor

This image is admittedly over the top. It is my attempt at portraying the vicious cycle that addiction can become - influencing future generations. An adult is drowning inside the oversized cocktail. The young child is drinking from a bottle "just like Mom" while holding the neck of a bottle coming from behind- symbolizing the possibility that the child may become an addict because of early experience and role-modeling.

Valerie Patterson/Artist www.valeriepatterson.com (9/30/2011)


Victoria Pendragon

Victoria Pendragon
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Victoria Pendragon
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Victoria Pendragon
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Victoria Pendragon
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Victoria Pendragon
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Title: "Releasing Demons"

This little gouache on paper was one of the first images to emerge after I entered into therapy. It is, perhaps needless to say, metaphorical, and represents the very physical reaction I had of disgorging the feelings I’d experienced at the time of the sexual abuse that spawned my later aberrant behavior. The picture itself no longer exists. I burned it in a ceremony held on the night before a full moon, the optimum time for getting rid of things you no longer want… like weeds in your garden.

I hadn’t been able, as a child, to process what was happening to my little body so I’d left it behind, escaping to ‘watch’ the activity from above. In so many ways, those out-of-body experiences saved my soul… but they also put me at some distance from that part of me until, in my mid-30’s, feeling completely unable to control my sexual behavior, I began a downward spiral of denial that ended in a disease that threatened to end my life. My body simply couldn’t continue to contain the information it held inside. It shut down and eventually, I opened up.

Those small monsters represented the tip of a very ugly iceberg that ultimately took about 20 very conscious years to melt.

Title: "Scleroderma 8"

My addiction cost me the custody of my children. When I lost them, I lost the only real, pure love that I had ever known and unbeknownst to me at the time, my body began to turn against me, began, slowly but surely, turning me into scar tissue from the inside out. By the time what was happening to me was identified, I was given six months to live.

Oddly, there was a tremendous relief for me in this: I would never have to worry about being sexually desirable again, never have to worry about saying ‘no’… and not being able to say ‘no’… because no one would ask. My body had taken care of that for me and soon I would die.

I was as certain as I could be that my body was trying to protect me from something… but what that was, I had no clue. It was not until two years later, when I was finally declared free of the disease, that memories of sexual abuse flooded my conscious mind and I began to heal what really needed healing: my mind and my heart and my soul.

I had been told by the doctors that my body would remain bent and twisted and unable to function properly for the rest of my life but as I healed, the impossible happened and my body is almost as normal as it was prior to scleroderma; in many ways, it actually functions much better than it ever did. And, best of all, the addiction dissolved as my heart opened.

Title: "Shaman's Dream 8"

Among the many alternative approaches to healing I tried was that of shamanic journeying. Under the guidance of a trained instructor I traveled into the earth to find my power animal. It was a wonderful experience and it made me feel strong. One of the things I learned later was that in the experience of those indigenous tribes where power animals are a part of the very serious business of life and where shaman are born and not made, upon meeting one’s power animal, one is more likely to feel scared than to feel strong as the power animal kills the shaman. This experience, of course, takes place in trance or in dream. It is, nevertheless, terrifying.

Years after what came to feel like the storybook adventure of a guided shamanic journey in the early days of my healing, long after I had been declared free of the physical disease but was still unable to keep the addiction under control, I was hunted… and eviscerated… in dream by a beast of great size. I awoke sick to my stomach, vomiting and in an altered state of consciousness that lasted for half of the day. It was dreadful. But I understood: I had been claimed. It was time for me to become of service to others. Only after that did the addiction begin to weaken. I began to recognize myself as a part of something much larger than myself and I began to take responsibility for that. I could not change the past but every step I took into the future was a step towards love.

Title: "New Moon Breath (NMB) – The Power of Creative Engagement"

One of the many practices I adopted as a part of my life was yoga. It had obvious benefits for a person whose body had been turned to stone but its greatest benefits were mental and what I can only call spiritual. As of this past year I have practiced yoga every day for 30 years and it continues to link me ever closer to the Oneness of which I feel so much a part. The mental discipline of keeping my mind clear seems to have allowed it access to levels of consciousness that elude me in a more ‘normal’ state. It has fed my continued healing more than anything else, especially in the realm of translating essentially ineffable concepts into a form that can communicate those concepts to others.

In the year following my mother’s death, when to my knowledge, the last of my abusers had died, I created Witness, an exploration of the psychological and emotional ramifications of sexual abuse, a series of mixed media pieces – of which this is one – designed to allow those whose lives have been distorted by abuse to know, to feel, to understand that it’s not just OK to bring it up…. It’s essential… even if the only person you bring it up with is you… in some form of expression, be it writing or music or visual art. Getting those feelings out in the light of day makes all the difference in the world.

 

Link to 2015 Recovery Art Challenge

"Taking Flight" Collage

This work marks the point at which I felt free… and how free I felt… free not just from addiction, but from the childhood experiences that had created me as the addict that I was. The curious thing about sexual addiction is that, because sex is a ‘natural’ thing, there exist therapists who don’t see it as an addiction; that can make working things through more than a little challenging. I actually had one psychiatrist tell me that it was “normal” for young girls to have fantasies of having sex with their fathers. (Really?) Somehow, the fact that I was in utter distress about my behavior, that I felt out of control, seemed to elude them. --Victoria Pendragon (2/8/2015)

Victoria Pendragon www.victoriapendragon.com/witness (2/9/2015)


Ellis Perl

Ellis Perl
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Beating Addiction

My painting depicts an innocent baby becoming a teenager, living on the street, working as a prostitute and addicted to drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Unfortunately, peer pressure succeeded to bring this young man down to the lowest depths of society. A strong bond with family and clergy and persistent intervention convinced this young man to enter rehab. After months of treatment he beats the addictions and celebrates his new life. -- Ellis Perl (3/7/2012)


Macacas Productions

Macacas Productions
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"Drugs Make Your Brain Scattered"

In Portugal we have a huge percentage of young people that fall into hard drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. When we think about drug addiction the image of a progressively scattered brain quickly comes to mind. We think information is the answer to this increasing problem and we wanted to design something to do with this line of thought. Ana and Joana of Macacas Productions www.macacasproductions.tumblr.com (6/20/2012)


Richard Proffitt

Richard Proffitt
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Richard Proffitt
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Richard Proffitt
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"Bottle with Trickster Cap"

The bottle is an ominous reminder of the chosen poison, be it whiskey, gin or methadone. The trickster is present here in the guise of a hare bottle-top. The hare is often mischievous, troublesome or tricksome. The bottle itself is labeled with a mathematical diagram which appears to be the square of -1. The answer to this is an impossible number and is represented by the character i.

"Needle Fetish"

It’s a sad fact that a significant number of intravenous drug users develop what amounts to a needle fetish. Does this stem from an unconscious desire to self-harm? Does it indicate a problem with self-worth? Is it simply a by-product of a learned reward system or are there other reasons for taking pleasure in the painful process of finding a vein and injecting? The needle, being the means to take the drug, becomes mistaken for the effects of the drug itself.

"Woman On A Drip"

Addicts and Alcoholics are often totally unaware of the health risks they are taking in using. It’s not supprising, then, that so many succumb to illnesses and diseases. The woman on the drip in this image is covering her naked body and carrying an IV drip around with her. I wanted to show both vulnrability and pathos.

-- Richard Proffitt )2/20/2015)


Vicki Lynn Rae

Vicki Lynn Rae
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Vicki Lynn Rae
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Vicki Lynn Rae
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"Straight Jacket Tango" 24" x 30" Acrylic on Canvas

  • It's getting restless again,
  • Expanding spirit pressed to the skin,
  • Tearing apart my insides
  • Like an aggravated assault from within,
  • It takes two to tango,
  • And it looks like my true Self is out to win.
  • Engaged in never ending battle with addiction,
  • Constantly faced with sink or swim.
  • Fear and doubt encase this thing,
  • Rage from injustice fuels the spar in my inner boxing ring.
  • Bound and gaged,
  • Sweat and tears, they sting.
  • Upon defeating the Jacket,
  • My truth and visions to the world
  • I'll Bring.
  •  
  • "Straight Jacket Tango" speaks to the battle between the force of the addiction and the true Self (or spirit) within.

"Asylum" 16"x20" Acrylic on Canvas

Breathe deep...swallow hard. Don't try and bottle those demons down. Cry out child, cry out that stifled scream!

"Asylum" speaks to the metamorphosis one can encounter when one surrenders to the full velocity of emotions that need to be released from within in order to heal. We use drugs and alcohol to manage our feelings. Day after day, year after year our feelings go neglected and unfelt and they build up to toxic and volcanic levels within the body and soul. To recover one must have the courage and capacity to release those old feelings and begin to manage daily feelings in the present moment- without the use of substance. Initially this will look and feel dramatic and chaotic but the ferocity of the overwhelming highs and lows of emotions will subside with practice and patience.

"Reclaim Me" 16"x16" Acrylic on Canvas

"Reclaim Me" speaks to the core of us all; our inner child. At what point in our lives does it become ok for us to pollute and destroy our own bodies, minds and souls? Age 19? 21? When you came into this world you didn't need a cigarette or a drink or a pill when you felt a feeling. You just felt the feeling; crying out in joy or anguish free and unabashedly. Society and the people around us often have a problem with our feelings and authenticity because they themselves have a problem with their own which they learned from someone else's oppression and so forth. Time to break the chain, time to reclaim custody of your inner child who needs nurturing and acceptance for all their human-ness.

Artist's Statement:

My personal journey is one that has moved through the tribulation of addiction and recovery to a positive place of joy and growth. I have transformed a life of suffering into a life filled with beauty and adventure. Using a striking, vivid pallet, expressionism and the full spectrum of human emotion, my work focuses on recovery and resurrection, while examining themes as diverse as psychological states, dance and the visual kaleidoscope of the animal kingdom.

I have fully recovered from addiction to alcohol, nicotine, self mutilation and anorexia nervosa. I have kept a visual diary in the form of painting that shows an inside, real time perspective of the loneliness, self annihilation and chaos of addiction, as well as the epic, courageous, faith fuelled battle of recovery, with a transition to focus on things which bring joy to me. My work spans the time of my addictions onset at age 14 to present day age 31 at just under 7 years sober and shows the immense, miraculous transformation that can take place in a persons life, capturing key moments in the analysis of the human condition in hopes to share and resonate with the spirits of others. -- Vicki Lynn Rae www.vickirae.com (4/23/2013)


Elizabeth Randle

Elizabeth Randle
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"pILLS 2012"

In my work I try to lead the viewer to look at objects in collective masses in hopes of evoking a sense of awareness towards the function of the objects and the role they hold in society. This piece is comprised of small scale panels, ranging from 1 inch to 4 inch. Entitled "pILLS 2012" this work deals with the addiction to the aesthetic qualities of prescription pills. The pills are colorful, fun to look at, collect and admire. They are life size, and the piece contains 30 panels. It was done as a cynical look at the role these objects hold in our daily lives. - Elizabeth Randle (3/23/2012)


William Schaefer

William Schaefer
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D - 22" x 34" - 2008 - Digital Fine Art on Canvas

"D" always had an addictive personality. When we were younger he would watch every movie that came out. At times he would watch two or three in one day. As time went on he got into collecting action figures. He would buy five or six at a time. When I was in my early teens I remember coming across a huge garbage bag in his room. Curiosity got the best of me, so I decided to peak inside. It was full of beer cans. I shrugged it off and went on with my life.

As time went on "D" and I grew apart. His actions became erratic. He broke into my mom's house while she was on vacation. I disowned him. A few years ago he apologized to me, so I forgave him. We started spending time together again, but he was different. There was always a glassy look in his eyes and he often couldn't keep food down. Again, I didn't think much of it. I told myself he was working too hard.

Suddenly "D" disappeared. His wife and family had no idea where he was. The last time I talked to him, he was trying to sell me the figure collection that he had taken so much pride in. That was almost two years ago. I have no idea what "D" is addicted to now or where it has taken him. - William Schaefer (2/10/2011)


Sara Schraeter

Sara Schraeter
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Sara Schraeter
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"Gun Shot"

"Amputation"

"I am a recovering drug addict and alcoholic who has been clean and sober since October 1, 2005. I have been an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous since March of 2006. After taking a 6 year break from academics and accomplishing a year of sobriety, I returned to school to pursue a career in art and education."

"In 2009 I was asked by a professor to produce a 6-part series of paintings that had to be personal and meaningful. I chose to use this opportunity to tackle a topic I felt does not receive enough exposure, the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. My premise is that, although an obvious consequence of drug and/or alcohol addiction is death, there are many more. And, that many of the others have painful consequences, both for the addict and their loved ones. The paintings I produced were non-traditional portraits of people I knew personally and/or whose families I knew personally. I felt that the subject matter would be easier to connect with, and feel more real, if the viewer knew these were portraits of real people who experienced the subjects of the paintings. I chose the three shown here because I felt they were the strongest of the six and the easiest ones to relate to and understand whether they stood in a series or as individual works." - Sara Schaeter http://saraschraeter.blogspot.com/ (5/13/2011)


Brent Schreiber

Brent Schreiber
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Brent Schreiber
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Brent Schreiber
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MAN IN THE GLASS AN EXPLORATION OF RECOVERY

What does a recovered alcoholic look like? When I look to the media I do not see myself or the people in my life. I see stereotypes, 95% chaos and 5% recovery. This is an ongoing portrait series exploring the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual experiences in the recovery from addiction.

BRENT SCHREIBER

Brent Schreiber is an Artist located in Elmira, Ontario. His personal work focuses on large scale figurative paintings. Combining traditional painting, design and narrative themes, Brent's work strives to connect the emotional to the physical. His work is held in both Private and Public Collections in the United States and Canada.

MAN IN THE GLASS EIGHT, 40"x36" Acrylic on Canvas

Can I be honest with myself about the true nature of my problem? Man in the Glass Eight explores the concept that the substance is not the problem but simply a solution that no longer works. Am I willing to look at the real problem in my life, the man in the glass?

An homage to Norman Rockwell's Girl at Mirror.

MAN IN THE GLASS FOUR, 36"x24" Acrylic on Canvas

Self Portrait. The disease of addiction isolates whether in active insanity or recovery. One of the hardest parts of recovery is letting go of a past life, the relationships in it and the acceptance that it is over. Can I start anew and embrace a new community and build a better life?

MAN IN THE GLASS TWENTY WEAPONS OF CHOICE, 12"x12" Acrylic on Canvas

Active addiction or active recovery is choice that comes down to whether my solution is worth my consequence. Once the decision is made, what weapons will I arm myself with? -Brent Schreiber Www.brentschreiber.com (9/8/2011)


"Richard Smith"

Richard Smith
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Richard Smith
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Richard Smith
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"Black Heart" acrylic on canvas

I painted this picture while in rehab last year. My intention was to create an image that represented the helpless vulnerability, both mental and physical, I felt in alcoholism. I recall reading the phrase "the black heart of addiction", a place where the value of life itself is lost. I realized later that the bottle could also be seen as a speech bubble. -- Richard Paul Smith (1/9/2013)

"Self Portrait - The Child Within" acrylic on canvas

In rehab I was lucky to have the attention of a remarkable therapist. I came to understand the importance of identity formation - the crucial period when the child separates themselves from the world and the transition from child to adult at puberty. For me both these times were disrupted. I have heard many addicts refer to the struggle to adapt to the world around them. Despite our abilities and intelligence we "just don't get it" at least not until we get sober and then have to relearn how to do it as I'm doing now in recovery. The painting also relates to the craving that originates from the same place as primitive survival urges - Water, Food, Comfort, Sex - Alcohol! -- Richard Paul Smith (4/26/2013)

"Recovery" acrylic on canvas

Rising out from a very dark place, submitting to the joys of recovery. Fearful of falling back into a nightmare. -- Richard Paul Smith (4/26/2013)


"Mano Sotelo"

Mano Sotelo
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Mano Sotelo
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Title: "The Effects of Repeated Behavior"

Repeated action is like playing with a toy truck in the dirt. Every time you repeat an action, it is like you are moving the truck over the same path. Each time the truck is pushed over the path, the path grows deeper. Soon the path will turn into a rut, with walls that grow higher with each pass. Eventually, the path becomes too deep. You travel the same path and take the same action; a captive of your own conditioning. -- Mano Sotelo: www.sotelostudio.com 1/8/2014

 

Link to 2015 Recovery Art Challenge

"Waking Up from the World of Thought" 24” x 36” Oil on panel

Concept: Our beliefs and values frame how we see the world and ourselves. Most of the time, we aren’t ex­periencing reality at all; we are thinking about the past or the future or viewing reality through the filter of our ideals. This painting reflects the visualization of moving beyond those thoughts to see the reality of the present moment. --Mano Sotelo Artist website: www.sotelostudio.com (2/8/2015)


"Sakhal Star"

Sakhal Star
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Title: "Dezire" Oil on Sheet 12 in. x 16 in.

Yeeees, come on!!!!!!!!!!! Just take one step forward and you are out of the marsh. Achieving something, or giving up something. If one can do it, anyone can do it. YOU can do it. You are not the only one who is destitute, lonely, in bad company, unfortunate, and so on.

There is an endless list of excuses the addicted can use to justify their longing for something. Most of the time, something that is nothing. What you need is an earnest desire to live life, nothing else. Find that desire in you, and you'll find that life is full of flowers. -- Shakal Star (9/13/2012)


Amanda Stevens

Amanda Stevens
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Title: "Bite"

Addiction is not limited to chemical dependence. Addiction is chemical, mental, physical, and emotional. This painting addresses the mental component of addiction.

As a blind person, my experiences are represented as pictorial memories. Not actual images. They often overlap, and are jumbled. This painting is what I think addiction would look like to me as a blind person.

I am unsure how this work appears to the sighted but it elicits in me the chaos, hurt, and disparity that are cornerstones of addiction.--Amanda Stevens (9/13/2012)


Joel Michael Sutton

Joel Michael Sutton
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Joel Michael Sutton
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Link to 2015 Recovery Art Challenge

"Escaping Death" 14" X 17" Oil Pastels

Hello, my name is Joel Sutton and, like many people, I have been addicted to heroin. Nothing mattered, each day was all about the fix, I was hooked. The picture is me with a syringe hooked in my lip and the grim reaper is behind me about to pull me into my inevitable death. Every day was a struggle until I finally asked for help and have now been clean for almost a year. My emotions came back and, therefore, my creativity did too! I titled it "Escaping Death" because I actually did break the chains holding me down and controlling my action each day of my life. I am free! And I know for a fact you can be free like me too, it may seem impossible right now where you are sitting, I thought so too, but anything is possible with help! All you need is help and dedication because you cannot do it on your own. Thank You! -- Joel Michael Sutton (2/8/2015)

"Making A Change"

"Making A Change" addresses making new friends and rediscovering myself through my art talent. The making and sharing of Art has kept me sober and hopefully will continue to make a permanent change in my life. -- Joel Michael Sutton (7/11/2015)


Kandy Stevens

Kandy Stevens
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Kandy Stevens
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Title: "Escape"

This painting is a story of desperation, loneliness, and quiet suffering. Its about feeling like an outsider who wishes to fly away to a more accepting world. If you could step into this woman's heart you would hurt with her at the pain she was dealt in the ugly world she called home. If she lifted her head you would see tears flowing down her face from the little girl inside her who feels damaged beyond repair.

Title: "The Other Mother"

I read a definition of intimacy that described it as sharing what we are like, who we really are, and what we've been through. This painting is my attempt at sharing the brokenness in my heart and life. I was suffering from addiction and depression when I drew the face in this painting. My daughter asked me to enter into treatment because she missed her mother and wanted her back.

Despite the fear that I felt, the love of my daughter overcame my hesitancy of asking for help, and I entered into a program that helped save my life. I love her with all my heart and will continue to strive for health so that I can be all that she needs me to be. When I returned home, I finished the painting while continuing my journey towards being the best mother and person that I can be. Art is my way of releasing pain, and I consider it a form of therapy in and of itself. - Kandy Stevens


Amy Thompson

Amy Thompson
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Amy Thompson
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Amy Thompson
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Amy Thompson
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Amy Thompson
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Amy Thompson
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"Absolute" Acrylic on canvas 24x36

When there seems to be nothing permanent, nothing solid in your life, that is when you must turn to the tools you were taught in treatment — the absolute of recovery. The solid line that runs throughout the mess and chaos of your recovery years. Those tools, the bible high among them, are what you can count on, not the fluff of society or the promises of others.

"Chaos" Oil on canvas 24x36

Before I left for treatment, my life was nothing but chaos, personal and professional. I didn’t know whether to kill myself, to keep on as I was going, or to give in and go to treatment. I gave in. The painting Chaos is a mass of scrapes and swirls, a "snapshot" of the chaos that consumed me. Stained sharp slashes of blackness underneath oranges of bright hope. A circle of promise. Both hope and despair are in this painting.

"Vodka" Acrylic on canvas 30x40

There was a time in my life that Vodka was my go to, my "turn the world upside down, inside out, and right side back up again" drug. It would make my bipolar world, which seemed so dark and repressive, alive in color. My painting “Vodka” depicts a Vodka binge for me. My world is full of color while I’m drinking, yet, as it comes to an end, the darkness returns and covers it all.

-- Amy Thompson www.prairiefire-studio.com (4/13/2012)

 

Link to 2015 Recovery Art Challenge

I have attached three paintings that I have painted through my recovery journey. Each is a celebration of my life after I didn't think I would survive addictions.

"Defy"

The first is "defy". Painted with colors unlike what I usually use. It is only with absolute bravery that I, or any person with an addiction, overcomes the hold it has on our lives. Brave I was and am.

"Saturation"

The second is "saturation" it's like seeing my life was saturated with my addictions. They cover all the beauty in recovery. It is only when we can get past that saturation, that we can we see the beauty of the clouds... a simple cloud seen sober is amazing.

"Lather"

The third is "lather". The white of recovery comes from the dingy bubbles of addiction. While we allow ourselves to soak in addiction, the white of recovery is just so close... trying to push into that dinginess. Finally reaching recovery, we are clean.

--Amy Thompson (2/8/2015)


"Gloria Valdes 'Tarasca'"

Gloria Valdes 'Tarasca'
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Title: "Peyote" - Oil on Canvas, 24" x 30"

Since the beginning of time, man has communicated with nature through magical plants. They include peyote, hallucinatory mushrooms, marijuana and ayahuasca. Unfortunately, modern society often abuses those substances by just using them to satisfy curiosity and to have fun.-- Gloria Valdes 'Tarasca' www.gloriavaldes.com (9/13/2012)


Charlotte Viau

Charlotte Viau
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Burning on the inside 11 in by 8.5 in, pencil, crayon and ink

This word, 'addiction', has been an evil in my life since I was an adolescent.-- Charlotte Viau (6/4/2012)


Todd Vogel

Todd Vogel
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Todd Vogel
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Todd Vogel
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a page from The Rut? A Very Simple Guide by Todd Vogel

a page from Why Does He Drink? A Very Simple Guide by Todd Vogel

a page from Why Does He Drink? A Very Simple Guide by Todd Vogel

"Very simple Guides are the creation of Todd Vogel who, after twenty years in recovery, stumbled on a way to help keep things simple for people who are prone to emotional hurricanes and other confusions. This most definitely includes himself. Because we are so marvelously complicated, there are a wide variety of topics and titles available at http://odatbooks.com where they may be read on line or ordered as print versions which are very handy tools for helping sponsees remove their heads from dark places." - Todd Vogel (4/8/2011)


Carmine Vunak

Carmine Vunak
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Wrapped Up

About a year ago, I struggled with an addiction to morphine. Although I got the help I needed, and was able to pull myself out of it, some people are not so lucky. I wanted to make a painting that covered all aspects of addiction. In my photo, I show a man divided into both dark and light portions, with morphine pills spilling out of a bottle into his hands, wrapping all around his body, and overcoming him. I made this separation of light and dark to show that sometimes in addiction, yes, there are happy days. There are days when you feel better than you ever have before. But those happy days are few and far between, surrounded by overall darkness. Even though you may experience feelings of euphoria, it doesn't change the fact that you are still being overcome by addiction. I am hoping that people can see this and relate it to their life, possibly realizing that their negative actions may have been falsely justified or masked by what they felt to be a "light". -- Carmine Vunak (4/23/2012)


Michael Warnick

Michael Warnick
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Alcohol Crash

"This piece was created shortly after three of my classmates and friends died in an underage drinking, alcohol related, crash. I decided to do the piece as a warning about alcohol related deaths after I realized that binge drinking had claimed the lives of 12 of my friends before I had reached the age of 18. My own drinking has stopped, and many of my friends think this piece is messed up. But I I hope it has impacted them enough that I won't lose another friend to alcohol." - Michael Warnick (5/26/2011)


Lee Weber

Lee Weber
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Evidence of Addiction Everywhere - iPhone photo collage

"Evidence of Addiction Everywhere is a mosaic collage of quick snaps I took with my iPhone while walking around in everyday life in the past months. I'm thinking of doing this as an ongoing series in my life, as a way to process what addiction is and to contrast the many and varied substances that we can become addicted to. I also like to transform even the ugliest syringe into something beautiful." - Lee Weber - Drug Addiction Blog (2/19/2011)


John Wise

John Wise
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Relentless - Digital Print 14"x10"

Returning from a depressing but needed trip to a pulmonary specialist. The patient asks to stop at a convenience store for some cigarettes. I am seething.

Generally speaking, my art as well as a current digital collage series is introspective and a bit cerebral. In this piece I am simply venting. I am driven by the fury and frustration inevitable in those close to the addicted, regardless of the form of the addiction. The color has been kept very low key and stylistically almost dated in keeping with the hidden, secret world of addiction. The images are pretty direct and as unpleasant as watching someone’s destructive need to smoke makes me feel. -- John Wise www.johnwiseart.com (6/30/2012)


 

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