For too long, I've been unable to think. When I was admitted to a psychiatric clinic, earlier this year, there were so many broken connections in my head it could only be described as a complete system crash. I couldn't function even at a basic bio-mechanical level let alone communicate coherently. The psychotropic drugs my doctors prescribed controlled the collapse but soon they turned my brain to mush. Thinking was like squinting into an opaque lens smeared with oil: the simplest ideas were formless shadows, too faint to make out.
I withdrew from the drugs against the doctors advice. I was left with a relentless, repetitive electro-static jolt that, for a time, was an insurmountable obstacle to comfort inside my own head.After I was discharged, I distracted myself as best I could. I was desperate to be productive again so I focussed on practical tasks, like setting up somewhere in which to work. I cancelled out the mental white noise with rigorous physical exercise. When I began making art again, I didn't have to think: I just worked on what I had conceived before I broke down rather than try anything new.Thinking deeply, coherently, and creatively matters to me. I became an artist because I wanted to live a life of the mind, immersed in new and evolving ideas. Now that I'm settled into a routine – albeit in the last place I expected to be, my former home town of Brisbane, where I have returned to be close to my ailing father – I can retreat back into my own head space and plot what comes next in work that has always been primarily conceptual despite its apparently easy accessibility.Without the gritty substance of good ideas, productivity is hollow and pointless. The complex, architectural process of conception doesn't just give meaning to my work, it gives meaning to me.