Art has long been a creative outlet for Samantha Abbott, 22, of Bristol. She’s dabbled in 2D, 3D, photography, ceramics, drawing, watercolor, jewelry making and chalking. But a black and white piece of scratch art from high school — a self-portrait — has given her a new sense of accomplishment. It was chosen for inclusion in a 2018 calendar published by Genoa Pharmacy.
“It’s nice to finally be recognized and I’m really proud of it,” Abbott said. When she first submitted her art for the contest, she thought the calendar would only be published locally. When she realized it would be distributed at the nearly 400 Genoa offices across the country, she was thrilled. “My mom’s like, ‘You’re worldwide!’ ”
Flip to the month of April, and Samantha’s eyes peer out of the shadows. The piece was a study in contrast: Her teacher took photos of each student, with a bright light illuminating half their face. The photos were printed and traced on black scratch paper, and each artist chose how to interpret the shadowing.
Samantha loved studying art, and took as many classes as she could in high school and college. It’s been more difficult since leaving school, though.
“I think I really thrived in an environment where I had direction,” she said. “Continuing is hard; you have to motivate yourself when you’re not in class.”
Samantha is diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, inattentive and hyperactive. She also has major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and borderline personality disorder, which were diagnosed during an inpatient stay at Oaklawn about a year and half ago. Since then, she’s been working with a psychiatrist, therapist and skills trainer, and receives some of her medications through Oaklawn’s patient assistance program.
Although she misses the structure of creating art in a classroom, she still finds ways to incorporate it into her life, she says. Once a week, she volunteers leading arts and crafts with developmentally disabled adults. She often does art projects as part of her part-time nanny job. And she instinctively turns to it when she’s struggling with the symptoms of depression or anxiety: “It’s something that can help when I’m in a rut.”