I'm sure that, one day, there'll be a form here....
I was (was?) a geek growing up so I never found time for any sort of art or writing courses, but I do understand many people think that art is to be interpreted by the viewer/reader/listener and not explained by the author. That's not what this Web-based art gallery is about.
The purpose of the Fine Line is to provide multiple perspectives on mental disorders under the belief that each point of view adds to the understanding of the whole. That does not just mean multiple submissions on, say, depression, but multiple modes of expression about depression—including multiple perspectives on each submission from the creator of that submission. So, along with the artwork submitted, I ask that you include an explanation of that piece. What it is about. What motivated you to create it. What the context was that molded that experience for you.
Creatively expressing what's inside of you can help you to heal, but only you and those who have felt close to what you have expressed may truly understand your work. To teach, particularly those who have no experiences to guide their interpretations and to which they can affix their understanding, explanation is required. The art and the narrative explanation provide two perspectives on the same point in space and time that can help others touch that point and understand. You may also find that the act of putting "ordinary" words to those internal forces that shaped your creation will teach you things about those forces you never really knew, either.
In addition to your art and your narrative, I ask that you provide some information to let people know, in some manner, who you are. Make no mistake, the Fine Line is a public forum. Having some degree of social anxiety myself, I can appreciate the concerns you may have. You may have whatever degree of anonymity or recognition you desire. What I ask, as a minimum, is a pseudonym, your characterization of your disorder, and a short description of the treatment (or lack thereof) you have gone through to address your disorder. I hope, as submissions are received and posted in the Gallery, that we will find that this amount of information is enough to provide some root context to your submission.
I do promise this: that I will never reveal any information beyond what you ask to be placed on the Fine Line; that I will remove it immediately if you request that I do so; and that any email or web link to you or your site will only be made at your explicit request.
I have no problem whatsoever with being the only person on this site that any visitor may contact, if it provides the level of safety and comfort you would need to place something so private from you in such a public forum. [I will, however, deny and reject any armchair diagnoses of tendencies towards megalomania or compulsive exhibitionism aimed at me ... I prefer my own doctor's diagnoses, thank you very much ;^)]. I also protect "my own"—our own, if you join this community. Everyone's perspective here is valid and valuable, but I will censor or remove any sort of commentary that belittles what any of us has experienced. For this is what I believe: I know that I have achieved some measure of what others would call success, and I know there are others who have suffered longer or more intensely than I have over the course of my life. Walk down any street at any time in NYC, and you will come to know that as well. Nonetheless, that someone has suffered "more" than others in no way diminishes the suffering that you or I may have experienced. There are no need for comparisons or contests here, just a need to heal and to teach.
How do you submit your work?
Send me an email. If you're gung-ho and ready to go, follow the list at the right. If you want to talk with me about it before making a decision, that is also fine.
If you do not know how I feel about copyrights, you should read my manifesto. Regardless, what's yours is yours and I will post whatever copyright information you desire. You retain all rights to your work, and their display on this site does not constitute your surrendering those rights to me. If you feel strongly about copyrighting your own work but still wish for anonymity, I would advise you to print out your work and relavent emails between us, and then send them to yourself via certified mail (what has been referred to as a "poor man's copyright"). And whatever you do, don't open the envelope! That sealed, certified (and date-stamped) envelope is a persuasive means of establishing the origin and date of origin of the contents. As you retain control of your work, I will not grant permission for others to copy, link to, or otherwise make use of your work without your explicit consent. By "explicit consent", I mean an email message from you to me that can identify who you are (for legal purposes) granting or denying such permission which I will hold privately while resolving the issue. If someone uses your work without your permission, I will assist you in pursuing whatever resolution you would deem satisfactory.
I also ask that since you are volunteering to put your work in this space, you do not blame me if someone grabs it. [Of course, unsolicited, authoritative, free legal advice on this issue is welcome at any time =^)].
submitting to tfl
Submitted work will remain on this site for as long as the creator desires. Should I start bumping up against my site's storage limits, I may start rotating the oldest work off to make room for other submissions. As in all web endeavors, size matters and smaller is better. "Parsimony is a virtue", as my stats prof was wont to say. Still, I realize that some media (QuickTime movies, Flash files) may require considerable space. My giudeline here is to limit the combined weight of one author's submissions to 2.5MB. If every author were to use that much space (most of us won't, I imagine), I would currently be able to support about 30 authors. As a community, you may decide to contribute to expand our server space or even suggest a different web host that is more economical, that supports technologies such as streaming media or server-side technologies you would like to make use of. Whatever we decide, I will continue to fund this project at the level I currently allocating to it (perhaps more if you can convince my boss to give me a nice fat raise!).
I am looking to build a community of support here. To that end, I will be creating a group blog reserved for the use of all contributing artists. The tflblog, however, is my own soapbox. I'm rather "out" about my disorder. I see it as a responsiblity for someone trained as a psychologist—not as a clinician, but as a research psychologist, a teacher and a scientist. Still, I hope you will express interest in the group blog and particpate as you can.