On 3, Lets Jump Off The Roof- An open letter from Artist Antoinette Cauley About Her 4th Annual Art Exhibition And Her Battle With Mental Health / by Antoinette Cauley


I hope this message finds you in good health and a space full of love and hope.

I share a lot of my successes with my supporters via social media in hopes to inspire, encourage and motivate people to work hard and chase their dreams. But, the truth is that I face a ton of obstacles and a ton of struggles that I am not vocal about outside of a very tight network of friends and family. I have laid out one of the biggest struggles I have ever faced in my new body of work.  In order to begin my journey towards healing, I have decided to create a collection of paintings, drawing and photographs of work centered around my struggles with mental health.

I have never publicly spoken about my struggles with mental health because like many others, I’ve always felt that the stigmas often associated with these issues would make others view me in a negative light. The reality is, these issues are all too common and it is time that we create a safe space for people to begin a dialogue about it.

 When I was very young, I lost my aunt to breast cancer and watched my mother begin the fight against breast cancer only a few months after my aunt’s death. It was more traumatic that I realized. My mind immediately went into survival mode. Anxiety kicked in and over the next year or so it turned into OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). The compulsions lead to spouts of depression that come and go in waves and can be triggered by a number of things. Though I have struggled with these disorders since I was a child, I was clinically diagnosed at the age of 19.

The compulsions that came with the OCD have by far been one of the hardest things I’ve dealt with personally. While I don’t wish to speak in detail about it, I can say that it’s kept me from doing a lot of things including building friendships, attending events outside of my work and has made me hesitant to pursue any type of romantic relationships. It has caused a lot of emotional and physical pain that sometimes leaves me feeling isolated and depressed. I often turn to my art as an outlet. It has always been my way of screaming out to the world for help without having to say one single word. I have masked my pain in vibrant colors & dynamic patterns for years without anyone knowing.

Artist Antoinette Cauley pictured with her painting titled "Love Can Make A Bitch Go Crazy". Photo by Dontae Tubbs/ Hair by Annie Cavnaugh/ Makeup by Stephanie Hernandez

Artist Antoinette Cauley pictured with her painting titled "Love Can Make A Bitch Go Crazy". Photo by Dontae Tubbs/ Hair by Annie Cavnaugh/ Makeup by Stephanie Hernandez

My 4th annual solo exhibition is titled, “On 3, Let’s Jump Off The Roof” and was named after the Vince Staples song “Jump Off the Roof” which also inspired the entire collection in early 2016. This show, taking place on February 11th, is not only reflective of my struggles with mental health but also features stories of several minorities who face mental health issues ranging from PTSD to Bi-Polar Disorder. The show is free, all ages and open to the public. Tickets will be available for a limited space VIP Preview of the show on the 10th where I will be hosting a cocktail hour and walking you through the collection in a very intimate atmosphere.

Naturally my love of hip hop also plays a huge roll in this collection as well. Along with models who I handpicked to share their story, I will also be showcasing paintings of several musicians who have dealt with mental health issues such as Amy Winehouse, Kid Cudi and Kanye West, to name a few.

These issues have affected every aspect of my life and I know that one day soon I will find true healing and inner peace. Below is a short film I directed and starred in to illustrate the inner turmoil these mental health issues have caused in my own life. I hope you take something away from the work I have created even if it’s as simple as knowing that you aren’t alone.


Film Credits:

Shot and Filmed By: MCP

Directed By: Antoinette Cauley

Edited By: Irin Daniels

Actors: Dietrich Rashad, Stephanie Hernandez, Joy Kendrick, Antoinette Cauley

Styling: Tyler Jackson

Hair: Annie Cavanagh

Makeup: Stephanie Hernandez