Trypophobia and Art
Trypophobia is a symptom of aversion to specific repeated patterns. Although it is known that 16% of the world's population has it, it is not yet listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is also called cluster phobia.
When people see this type of cluster, they experience symptoms of disgust or fear.
Individually, I am also an artist with Trypophobia. So, unfortunately, I can not paint such the circular dot patterns even in my paintings because I am afraid of myself. While writing this post, it is common to upload a sample photo, for example, but I couldn't upload it because that action causes symptoms.
I can't endure to see small, irregular circles, oddly patterned, clustered, embossed, and full of depth—just seeing such an image for the first time causes goosebumps, the first reaction. And I have a headache and feel nauseous. Lastly, I feel dizzy, and my whole body shakes. Since I have lived with these symptoms for a long time, I know how to subside.
Once I feel the fear, I take a long deep breath. And press firmly on both sides of the forehead with both hands. At the same time, I close my eyes and practice or imagine shaking off the image. Then, repeatedly, I think of an idea that I like and think is beautiful. And when the symptoms are relieved to some extent, drink warm tea to relax. It's very cumbersome, but it's pretty helpful.
But not all archetypes in the world are afraid. For example, I like dotted umbrellas, polka clothes, curtains, and bedding. A regular, predictable pattern like this is fine. It's also okay to look at tangerines or strawberries. There seems to be a specific pattern of fear I feel.
That's why I sometimes suffered when I saw works that dealt with so many holes or circles among other works. Oh! It's a very inconsiderate piece of work. Perhaps the artist was unaware of the existence of trypophobia.
However, there is an artist who overcame this phobia with art. She was born in Japan, and her name is Yayoi Kusama, a contemporary artist. Her works are often found in public buildings or exhibition halls.
She undertook an gloomy childhood under her obsessive and strick mother's control. Consequently, she suffered from delirium, in which all objects in the world appeared as dots.
After studying Japanese painting, Kusama moved to the United States at 27. She has been active in various fields such as pop art, installation art, and performance. Since then, he has created installation works based on his experiences with hallucinations, where walls and ceilings are covered with dots. She wanted to escape from the fear of the countless dots that surrounded her, and in order to overcome it, she drew the countless dots that flowed through the wall in fantasy and made them into her artworks one by one.
Perhaps that's why her works seem to feel the regular screams of numerous dots and the will to overcome them. I find her work strangely not intimidating. No matter how many and irregular the dots are, they do not lead to symptoms.
I think it's because we recombined the patterns that cause fear and are overcoming them. I also close my eyes to get rid of the fear when Trypophobia comes, and I imagine destroying the patterns I saw as if I were playing a galaxy game. The works of people who have healed their own pain and fundamental problems through their works do not cause pain to others. Instead, you will be freed from the fear and pain and be healed together when you see such a work. That is the net function of art.
Myungja Anna Koh