The Delusionist, 2008
Ink on Clayboard

Alex Pardee says: “I was placed in a mental hospital when I was 14 after being diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression, and housed there while the doctors were trying to find a medication that would help me. While I was there, I tried everything from playing basketball, making leather bracelets, reading and sleeping, to making a tattoo gun out of a walkman while I sat next to a self-proclaimed Nazi thrown in there for shooting his father.

"But nothing took my mind off of feeling sick. That is, until I grabbed some paper and started scribbling. Before I knew it, there was a small stack of paper filled with terrible drawings of what looked like gingerbread men and retarded spiders boxing each other. Then 4 hours had passed and I realized I hadn’t been thinking about being sick. So as cheesy as it sounds, from that moment, I felt that the only way I would ever feel better and the only way to escape was to draw, and to imagine these new creatures and worlds.

"In a way, this is a painting of myself in the hospital, clutching a security blanket that I’m imagining has turned into a parade-like float full of monsters, allowing me to be distracted enough for time to pass until I feel better."