Nova Scotia·Artist Profile

How an artist's dark work is helping him see the light

Frank Forrestall is finding spiritual meaning through his artwork.

Frank Forrestall says his art is helping him heal and find new meaning

Nova Scotia artist Frank Forrestall turned to drawing and painting during a mental health crisis. (Rajnesh Sharma for CBC)

A few years back, Nova Scotia artist Frank Forrestall went through a serious mental health crisis. 

"I'd had a lot of financial and personal problems that were going on and my life broke down in a very dramatic way," says Forrestall, who works in film, visual effects and art.

'Drain' by Frank Forrestall.

Forrestall found comfort in creativity. 

"My drawing process, in particular my crosshatching drawing, was very helpful and soothing to my recovery." 

He starts out by putting down lines and random shapes, and then finds an image in the random shapes. He turns some of these sketches into paintings. 

This process has brought him a sense of meaning he's been searching for since he was a teen. 

Video created by Rajnesh Sharma and Jason Bishop for CBC. 

Crisis of faith

Forrestall grew up Catholic, but experienced a "crisis of faith" in his teens. 

He went looking for something that made him feel as spiritually complete as he once did. 

Through his mental health crisis, he found that light. 

'Toxicity' by Frank Forrestall.

Process of healing 

He started creating his own mythological symbols that he'd been seeing in dreams.  

"I think a lot of the imagery that I come up with does feel quite dark and that's probably because I'm going through a process of healing and actively looking at the things that are in some way bothersome to my psyche."

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With files from Rajnesh Sharma and Jason Bishop for CBC.

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