R. Douglas Steinhauer:
Paintings and their Synopses Reflecting My Life Story — Struggles With My Mental Illness
Local artist R. Douglas Steinhauer will be bringing his artwork to Mulberry Art Studios in an effort to share his talents and shed light on an issue often overlooked in this country- mental illness. Steinhauer uses beautiful brushwork and vivid colors to bravely tell the story of his own psychotic breaks and chronic depression. The collection will be on display in the Mulberry Ballroom at Mulberry Art Studios throughout the month of May, which, quite fittingly, is Mental Health Awareness Month.
Steinhauer works in oil, oil-pastel, and 2D mixed media on canvas paper and stretched canvas. For this exhibit, twenty-one of his paintings, synopses of each painting (some including lyrics by songwriters, and the songwriters' music that is to play within the gallery room) combine to tell his story. And his is a story that many can relate to. An estimated 26.2% of Americans ages 18 and older, struggle with mental illness. Steinhauer himself suffered through two psychotic breaks, one in 1988 and one in 1994, and about eleven years of “on and off” chronic depression. The inspiration for this exhibit comes, Steinhauer says, “from experiences I've had with people, places, and others' music that I've encountered along my life journey.”
Steinhauer was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1968. A diagnosis of depression and schizophrenia in 1988 forced him to leave Temple University, in Philadelphia, after three years of enrollment. He uses the act of painting as an expressive release from depression, and his style is influenced by post-impressionistic painters of the late 1800's. The result is bright, warm colors reflecting his energetic highs, and deep blues, purples, and cool tones showing his depressive lows. “Colors help to create depth within the paintings” says Steinhauer. “I see universal emotions and themes within my art and would like my work to resonate with the viewer.”