Rhys Bevan-Jones works and researches in the field of psychiatry in Cardiff. He is interested in the relationship between psychology/ psychiatry and the visual world, and much of his work is based on themes such as mental states, disorders and identity.
What do you see as the purpose of your work as an artist?
Much of my work is based on themes such as the mind, mental states and disorders and identity. In my work I try to engage, explore, communicate and illustrate. This is not only for my own personal projects, but also with individuals with mental health difficulties and their families, students at the medical school and during public engagement projects.
What overriding message are you trying to convey through your art?
I’m interested in how the images can communicate complex ideas in a relatively simple, effective and sometimes amusing way. My prints might help show how we all have different perspectives on the mind and on what mental health means to us in our everyday experiences. They might also help show the diversity of experiences possible, and illustrate how individuals often don’t fit into neat ‘textbook’ presentations.
As a Welshman, you operate in English and Welsh. Does your sense of self shift depending on which language you’re using?
I don’t think it changes significantly. I’ve always been bilingual and use both languages in all aspects of my life – so I shift from one to another quite easily. Welsh is my first language and I use that with most of my family, whilst I use English more in my medical work, so there are those associations. Some of my prints reflect my interest in Welsh identity, and language is part of this.
Which ‘thinker’ has had the greatest influence on your life and work?
There are so many, but I’d have to mention my parents. My dad, who was also a psychiatrist, died a few months ago, and I miss talking to him so much.
We are constantly advised to look after our bodies, but what of the mind – should people be careful about what information is going into their heads?
Yes, it is so important to think about our mental health as well as our physical health, and there’s a strong association between the two.
What impact do you think social media is having on people’s mental health?
Interesting question. It definitely affects the way we communicate with each other. It is interesting how we have an online presence – and select what others see and read about us. Is this the ideal self ? Of course we do this to some extent in all aspects of our daily lives. I am exploring how social media will link in with the online package we are developing at Cardiff University for mood and well-being in young people. There are so many risks as well as benefits to consider here.