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Randy Hilliker sheds light on mental health issues

Randy Hilliker is an MFA student at AAU. These images are part of a greater series he is working on for his thesis. These images where made from digital files to the cyanotype process.  He used the traditional chemistry and then used a borax bleach to fade the blues a bit and bring out some contrast.

See more of Randy's work on instagram at @randy.hilliker

ALTER/ANALOG: Can you tell us a bit about the thesis you are working on that these images are a part of?

RH: My thesis is still in it's beginning stages.  But it is my intent to elicit an emotional response from looking at this series similar to those of people who suffer from depression and anxiety.  I think that it's important to have a conversation about mental health in this country.  One of the ways to start that conversation is to create a place where there is understanding.  It is sometimes hard for those who suffer to communicate their feelings.  And I am hoping that, through art and photography, I can give voice to those who may not have one.

ALTER/ANALOG: How did you get interested in photography?

RH: I have had a long love affair with photography.  I started back in high school with a photography class.  For my senior year, I was given an old Cannon camera.  I went on to college a few years later and completed my BFA in photography and sculpture.  I have never really been interested in photography's ability to depict reality.  I am more interested in the medium's ability to render artistic expression.  When we see a photo, we automatically want to know what it is.  We can't help ourselves.  We are programmed to view a photograph as something real or something that actually exists.    I am interested in how fine art photography can challenge those preconceived notions.

ALTER/ANALOG:  What inspires you?

RH: This is probably the most difficult question for me to answer.  I am inspired by quiet.  I think that it is in those quiet moments that I do my best thinking.  Life is so chaotic that it is sometimes hard to filter out the noise.  I love nature and being outside.

ALTER/ANALOG: Do you find you have a theme or some connecting elements in your artwork?

RH: I think that those artist who have a clear intent for their artwork are more successful at accomplishing their goals.  When you have a clear understanding of intent, you are better able to conceptualize your ideas.   My self-portrait work is mostly about issues dealing with mental health.  As a person who suffers from depression and anxiety, it's not always easy to verbally communicate how I am feeling.  My artwork allows me a lyrical outlet for expressing my frustrations.  Most of my work revolves around the idea of dealing with issues of mental health.  I try to make the images a obvious as I can.  There are some elements of personal symbolism, but I try to keep them to a minimum.

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