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Renewal: Works About Hope

Shawn Augston


I am also a photographer who uses film. While developing a roll of film I had the thought that I don’t take the physical negative around to show it to others. I instead convert it to a “positive” in the form of a digital scan or print in order to display. This had me thinking about my struggles with Bipolar 1, where I tend to focus on the “negatives”. With my new series of paintings I am using this concept of Negatives/Positives within my art work. First by painting a negative that resembles my physical film negatives and then converting that to color to bring out the positive. It is a symbolic way for me to take a struggle, put it on the canvas then through the use of color as a contrast to what I am feeling bring out something positive. Color for me is a way to renew my mind. I struggle during the winter months where everything is grey and “dead” looking to me. I paint a lot of landscapes and flowers because they are a way to show a journey and growth for me. While I struggle daily with various aspects of my mental health being able to work on my paintings and photography has become a healthy way for me to cope with these struggles. This painting titled “Guided by Light” is symbolic to me in the aspects of being lost in the darker tones of my mind, but being able to find a lighted path and way out to bring me hope to continue my journey.


Shawn Augustson is a US Army veteran who discovered art and photography as a form of therapy after serving in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Diagnosed with PTSD, Anxiety, Major Depressive Disorder, and Bipolar 1 with Psychosis he now utilizes his art to take those daily struggles and turn them into a contrast of beauty. He refers to his work as Post Traumatic Expression.