Smoking is used as a remedy for sadness, and yet will worsen a person’s mental health. My work has looked at this through the lens of grief, exploring themes such as science, mortality, physical and mental health, consumerism and more. Within my work, the sadness that I constantly depict is grief and through metaphor smoking becomes grief. Both follow a familiar and repetitive cycle that never truly goes away.
I have created a series of smaller paintings that I developed from smaller, timed sketches that aimed to imitate the type of doodles that a person might make whilst absent-mindedly smoking. I timed the sketches for five and eleven minutes, five minutes due to it being the time on average that it takes to smoke a cigarette, or eleven minutes due to it being approximately the time taken from a person’s life per cigarette.
My work uses sculpture, painting, photography, drawing and other mediums to create a glorified ‘brand’ image, complete with mascot and packaging. Both brand and mascot are named ‘Melancholia’, a word that references both black bile and depression, as well as being a satirical play on ‘Marlboro’. Melancholia, the mascot character, is the figurehead for grief, weighed down by her signature yellow hair.