Cameron Hapgood


I was only 19

I was only 19

2020
acrylic and oil on cotton
200 x 140 cm 

Artist statement

Life-threatening fear triggers part of your brain, the amygdala, to send a message to your hypothalamus creating fight/flight hormones. These hormones are released through your sympathetic nervous system.

            My eyes would have been dilated, if they were open.

            My mouth is dry as I feel my muscles, tight, pulsating fast with blood.

            I can hear only the sound of my breath and heart.

            I can taste the smell of the toilet I’m lying next to, and now I am covered in my own piss.

            It’s over.

            My body is tingling and my skin is cold and wet.

            The tension is building at the base of my skull and fuck me, all I want to do is cry.

            I don’t understand, I went through the same experience and I’m fine, why aren’t you?

            I was only 19.

In my painting I was only 19 I am interpreting the body’s physical reaction to the impact of a traumatic event. Through the connected body parts in the sympathetic nervous system, a face is given to my monster. A creature with a set of dilated and undilated eyes, evoking a relationship between the anxiety of yellow and the red of fight or flight.