Student uses mental illness to inspire artwork


Harlequinn Bodziony is a freshman studio art major. Bodziony uses art to portray mental illness.

Freshman studio art major Harlequinn Bodziony uses art to convey her depression, anxiety and love of all things creepy.

“I have kind of a creepier style,” she said. “My dad used to own a costume shop, so I was around creepy stuff my whole life, so I kind of channel into that. I think it’s cool.”

Some of her work includes a watercolor piece depicting an eye on a tongue, a man with a paper bag on his head surrounded by a rushing crowd, a sad clown and a Barbie doll drowning in a bathtub.

“I kind of want (people) to feel uneasy, in a sense,” Bodziony said. “Especially since I base off my childhood, which is very creepy, or mental illness. I want them to feel that pain, I guess. Or that feeling that is hard to put into words.”

She also enjoys putting hidden meanings into her artwork. Meanings that may be confusing to the viewer. 

One of her favorite pieces is the watercolor piece of the drowning Barbie doll. 

“It was to show that perfection kills,” Bodziony said. “Even [people with an] exterior of like pretty, popular… they still have issues deep down. So [the Barbie] kills herself but she kills herself with a smile on her face because that’s how people saw her.”

At 10 years old, around the time her parents got divorced, she started using art as a creative outlet.

“My childhood [inspires me], with all the crazy, creepy stuff,” Bodziony said. “I think my depression and anxiety helps a lot to give an image to what I’m feeling.”

Bodziony takes pride in the ‘creepy’ art she creates. Her mother, Lori Fronek, said she admires this about her daughter.

“Harle was definitely my child that marched to the beat of her own drum,” Fronek said. “And very beautifully and confidently couldn’t care less what anyone else thought of it. I think that really contributes to what an artist really is.”

Bodziony said she plans to pursue art therapy as a way to give back to others because art therapy helped her through many difficult times.

“I was thinking of doing art therapy because that’s something that helped me through my hard times,” Bodziony said. “I want to give people who don’t really like to talk one-on-one to someone a different way of an outlet.” 

Kristi Gunyula, Bodziony’s middle and high school art teacher, said she enjoys watching her craft continue to expand and change over time.

“Her style has really evolved,” Gunyula said. “[She is] coming into her own as an artist… I see her taking chances, taking risks and not being afraid to start over.”

Contact Sylvia Lorson at [email protected].