Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dooney Lives, In Depth

“I went mad. I went bankrupt. My father died. I spent years in a private psychiatric hospital. I came back.”Dooney Lives No. 1, 2016.

Dooney Lives is an ongoing autobiographical series told in bite-sized pieces, inspired by a long engagement with social media. My first major text-based work (and first public artwork), Ten Dicta For Young Women Who Are Artists, is a set of polemical interventions. In contrast, Dooney Lives is intimate, diaristic, raw and revelatory.

Together, the works in Dooney Lives form a fragmented narrative that begins after a long period as an inpatient at a private psychiatric hospital, where I received intensive treatment for bipolar disorder.

The expected life story of a woman like me is simple. Burn bright and go down in flames, consumed by insanity. The End. I refuse to accept this as the story of my life. Too often, I’ve been compared to women with talent and intelligence who succumb to tragedy. But I will not be anyone’s Camille Claudel or Sylvia Plath. Living on one’s own terms is an act of defiance. Dooney Lives is both a declaration of intent and a voyeuristic invitation to watch me.

New works will be added to the Dooney Lives series each week – perhaps until the end of my life. The series is available to view at my website (click thumbnails to see the works in full) and on (with images cropped to fit the format).

The works are designed to be hung individually or in groups, regardless of chronological order. Uniformity of format and mounting enables collectors to add new works from the series at any time. 

Each artwork is mounted by Julie Higham, a framer with over 20 years experience. She was recommended to me by master craftsman Graham Reynolds on his retirement. You can read more about him in my previous posts at Master With Class, Part One and Master With Class, Part Two.

Higham uses 100% cotton 8 ply Alpharag mat. It's acid and lignin free and buffered with calcium carbonate for added protection against acid migration. The colour of the Alpharag is a shade of white chosen to compliment the colour of the watercolour paper. Each artwork is attached to the mat using Japanese hinge paper and pure wheat starch adhesive. The front and back Alpharag mats are attached to each other using linen tape with pure wheat starch adhesive. When mounted, the final size of each artwork is 38cm high x 32cm wide (14.96  x 12.59 inches). 

Mounted works are wrapped in archival tissue, flat-packed and delivered by courier. I oversee mounting, packing and delivery, all of which are included in the price. 

If you are interested in one or more works from this series, please email me at

Above: A mounted artwork from Dooney Lives. I like that it’s minimalist and subtle. It’s the kind of art I would have in my own room – collected en masse, framed with natural timber, hung in a grid over an entire wall.

1 comment:

Memory Echoes said...

Dooney Lives! All Hail Dooney!

Prioritizing self-care is something I am learning as well, Hazel.

"Rock on wit yo bad self." I will do the same.

And maybe sometime soon I'll send you one of my batshit poems. If so, I will write it for you. (Maybe so. If you like.) Can we not be mystics without apology? We cannot be mystics without apology. We can be mystics without apology.

(When one starts to consider oneself a modern-day scribe of Sappho, reconstructing the fragments of her verse, shit starts to feel real, let me tell you. Amazing feelings. And exercise helps to ground it. Yes.)

I am making my crazy work for me.


With Love.