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Blog - Yvonne J Foster

My Misery Work


A few years ago I had a breakdown. Life had left me tangled up and in a heap.

I began to make what I affectionately call my ‘Misery Work’. Spilling out my emotions through words, scribbles, and altered photographs. I was responding to what life had thrown at me by creating visual artworks.


Portrait of Yvonne with 10 ton weight


I didn’t realise at the time that I was dealing with past trauma.

My father attempted suicide the first time when I was 13. I didn’t really know what feeling suicidal was like then. I do now.

During my breakdown I had two admissions to psychiatric hospital as my depression had spiralled out of control. I was struggling to cope.

Art was my cry for help. My ‘Misery Work’ was the only way of describing to others how I was feeling. I didn’t realise then but I was fighting for my life.


Portrait of Yvonne with blank eyes


I am some years on now and creating entirely different work, but I still use art to deal with the effects of trauma, depression and anxiety.

Dealing with the loss of a parent by suicide is strange. It never felt quite real. I often find myself going back to the emotional age of my former self before life changed.

Art is my way of processing it all. Art is also my escape, my relaxation and my enjoyment in life. It also helps start conversations about emotional trauma, mental health, loss and suicide that had previously been hidden behind closed doors.

If you are interested you can find more information on my website:

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Ian Mackenzie
Ian Mackenzie
4 years ago

I’ve always felt that your “Misery work” was very powerful, very direct, and often very painful to see – particularly as someone who knows you. It is more than an outpouring of rage and grief – many of your images speak to all of our suffering as well as your own. This work has power …

Richard Downes
4 years ago

welcome to DAO. I visited your website and was mightily impressed by its design and contents

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