About the Artist

I am an abstract mixed media artist and mental health activist who speaks publicly about my experience with bipolar disorder and the significant role that art has played in my own recovery process. Through art, I seek to destigmatize mental illness. I am currently working on my Master of Social Work in Advanced Clinical Practice at Walden University, and plan to pursue further education to become certified in art therapy as I strongly believe in the efficacy of healing through expressive therapeutic modalities.

Therapeutic Art-Making

I was a very anxious child and began doodling in grade school as an alternative to fidgeting in class. Over the years, my doodles became increasingly complex to the point where they were no longer categorically doodles, but actual works of art. My complex doodles resemble zentangles and likewise, are incredibly calming and grounding. I am primarily self-taught. In my late teens, I bought my first canvas and acrylic paints. Although I didn't really know what I was doing at the time, I never gave up and kept perfecting my craft. Early on in my painting career, I began using mod-podge to incorporate other mediums such as magazine clippings and scrapbooking paper into my artwork. I am always on the lookout for new materials to collage on my canvas. One thing you will notice about my art is that I use a lot of texture. I achieve this through layers and layers of paint as well as miscellaneous mediums that I collage onto the canvas. I am always finding innovative ways to add texture to my artwork. I am mesmerized with the art of fluidity and have recently begun to experiment with alcohol inks and flow acrylics.

the Link Between Bipolar Disorder & Creativity

While bipolar disorder is a difficult illness to live with, it is a condition that can effectively be managed throughout the lifespan. The different modes of thinking that often accompany manic depressive illness can simultaneously be disabling as it can be abling. My condition enables me to feel emotions several deviations away from the mean. During depressed phases of the illness, I use art to practice mindfulness and distress tolerance to better help regulate my emotions. During manic episodes, my mind is full of racing thoughts and ideas so I channel that energy into developing experimental techniques and innovative styles. Therapeutic art making has also been an integral part of my recovery from anorexia nervosa. While there certainly is an observable relationship between manic depressive illness and creativity, it does not apply to everyone diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Rather, a disproportionate amount of artists suffer from manic depression. Mental illness is as unique as any other human experience - a constant interplay of nature versus nurture - shaped by one’s individual temperament, skills and talents, psychosocial environment, socioeconomic background, and co-occurring disorders. I was exceptionally artistic prior to the onset of my illness and firmly believe that the extreme highs and lows of bipolar disorder further enhanced my creative abilities.


2019 Ho-Co Open, Howard County Center for the Arts, Ellicott City, MD

Ho-Co Open, Howard County Center for the Arts, Ellicott City, MD

2017 Solo Exhibition,The Art of Resilience, Washington County Arts Council, Hagerstown, MD

2016 All on the Wall II, Engine 22 Art Space, Hagerstown MD

2015 All on the Wall, Engine 22 Art Space, Hagerstown MD

2006 Kay Redfield Jamison's Lecture on Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, Bethesda Beatniks, Washington DC

© 2018 Jenna Line. All Rights Reserved.

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