By Amy Kerr
"In January of 2017, while in the depths of depression, the phrase, 'I am more than this,' popped into my head, and a fully formed public art and writing project seemed to download into my brain. A day that began dark and hopeless ended with the plans for a project called 'I Am More.' It combines my portraits in pastel and colored pencil with the writing of the portrait subject describing how they are more than their challenges.
"Subjects from ages 15 to 79 are pictured in the location of their choice, and they describe how they are more than their depression, grief, PTSD, eating disorders, addiction, bipolar disorder, OCD, schizoaffective disorder, postpartum depression, anxiety, panic attacks, cancer diagnosis and more. The portraits and essays are now circulating in non-traditional display spaces like food pantries, schools, libraries, theaters, treatment centers ... anywhere where people will notice them and be reminded that their struggles are just one part of a person with gifts, talents, and loves that need to be remembered and celebrated."
Amy Kerr is a portrait artist from Gloucester, MA, who has struggled with depression for 19 years. In 2016, she shared her personal story of depression on her blog and was overwhelmed by the response. Friends and strangers were grateful for the opportunity to have a platform to talk about suffering in public and without shame. This conversation led to the idea for "I Am More." To view more of Amy's work, visit her blog.