Ilana Simons

Artists and Mental Illness Interview Series: Ilana Simons

Artists and Mental Illness Interview Series: Ilana Simons

Ilana Simons is an artist and clinical psychologist currently based in New York. She has produced many short animations, featured in Hyperallergic, Electric Literature, and the Sundance Film Festival, and is the writer of A Life of One’s Own: A Guide to Better Living through the Work and Wisdom of Virginia Woolf. In August 2016, Simons performed her play, All Together Now, a multimedia solo show that premiered as part of the FringeNYC festival. The play involves an intimate, immersive experience, in which a small audience of twenty lies in a handmade tent, while Simons projects videos onto the ceiling and narrates. She explores her memories, the house she grew up in, her love, her divorce -- and, ultimately, how she came to make things, and see things, as she does today.

Simons sat down to speak with me shortly before a 3-month trip to work with refugees in Greece. In this variation on the Artists and Mental Illness interview series, she offers her perspectives as a woman both psychologist and artist, whose story is a unique mix of cerebral, vulnerable, eclectic, and raw.

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