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Laid Bare by Madness

Nick Cooke


"In the morning of 12th August I discovered Robin Williams has committed suicide; I had long been a fan of Robin’s and admired his open honesty about his struggles with mental health. This proved to be my trigger, for that evening whilst running with my club, the world went black and I could no longer go on.

What has followed is four and half years of medication, counselling, stretches in and out of work, and a growing dependence on art as a way of communicating with the outside world.

I started painting in October 2014 with encouragement from my wife during one of the most difficult periods of my life. I discovered I had a degree of talent and a huge passion for creating art. Unfortunately, after an initial six months of creativity, art began to take a back seat as I reintegrated into working life.

In January 2017 my world went black for a second time as my growing anxiety developed into almost permanent panic leaving me in bed terrified and exhausted.

This was produced in early 2015. At this point I had been off ill for about five months and was now trying to return to work.

The complete side of the face has a certain look of madness, this reflects the personality I believed I was showing to the world, ostensibly normal, but also a bit mad! The other side of the head is a bare skull and this reflects how I felt. The falling apart was now complete and I was reduced to bare bone. I thought I had no more to give"

See more of Nick's art on his website, Facebook, and Instagram

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