Home Individuals › Andrew


Andrew Serjeant image 1a

Art, stigma and other things

Some people spend all their spare cash on vices. Artist Andrew Sarjeant prefers to spend it on advertising his extraordinary art. The 48-year-old has been diagnosed with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder and low-level schizophrenia, but says that shouldn’t stop him from contributing to society.

“If people are willing to be more flexible about the way contributions are offered and focus on the quality of the finished achievements, there are a lot of people [like me] under the radar who would contribute greatly to society,” he says.

 In Andrew’s case, in spite of the terrible problems he has with his medication affecting his day-to-day energy levels and the intense fear he experiences as a result of his OCD, it’s his art that is his gift to others.

Through his art he wants to highlight that people with mental illness care about a range of issues, “such as the environment, unnecessary violence, and exploitation as well as the more positive aspects of life, such as humour, tolerance, understanding, peace, love, and unity”. He finds inspiration everywhere.

“I find music and symbols interesting, a movie I’ve seen, something compelling I’ve read, a photograph or certain people that I meet – it all inspires me,” he says. “And I like to put forward a narrative about those things in my paintings.”

Counsellor and fellow artist Chandra Marks is a big fan of Andrew’s work and loves his “very busy, very comic book style of painting”. She first met Andrew at an art class at Henderson’s Corban Estate Arts Centre. “Andrew’s work is very symbolic. He thinks about the meaning in each and every piece and listening to him talk about it is fascinating,” she says.

Chandra’s interest and encouragement in Andrew’s art came at a point when he was feeling very low. “It felt fantastic to have a timely, much needed endorsement,” he says.

Andrew’s favourite artists are Jean Michel Basquiat, Jackson Pollock, William Dekooning, and Picasso. “I like street art in general.”

Keeping healthy

Art is a huge part of how Andrew keeps healthy.  “Without my art, I don’t know what I would do.”

However, he also has other interests that help keep him well. “I love the language and structure of music and play the electric guitar,” he says. “Exercise is also something that I try and do regularly. I used to exercise at a gym, but now I walk a lot and I have a stationary exercycle and weights.”

Most recently Andrew showed his work in an exhibition “Two Worlds” at a popup gallery on New North Rd (October, 2012). In 2013 he would like to get stuck into a new exhibition, producing 50 giant-sized paintings and getting them together in one place to see what people think of them.

“People liked the art and the colours,” he says. “I want to use that to bring mental health concerns to the forefront, but also to highlight that with the appropriate help and viewed with an open mind, people with mental illness can interpret and add to the world with dignity.”

Good reads

simon2 resized 2019

Positively bipolar


Simon Davis-Oakley enjoyed his life as a self-employed web designer and programmer... Read more

Magdel Hammond LMLM 2014

A different attitude to illness


Moving to Aotearoa was like shifting to “absolute paradise” for Magdel Hammond.... Read more

Richard anderson 6x4

Schizophrenia is part of my story


Schizophrenia is potentially the most stigmatising of all mental illness diagnoses. Despite... Read more

Minnie Baragwanath

Lessons on being who you are


Minnie Baragwanath is chief executive and creator of the Be. Institute, a... Read more

Hazel Guyan

Beautiful identities don't judge


University of Canterbury graduate, Hazel Guyan, is an inspiring young woman. Read more

Eric Biddington image

Album takes note of stigma


A project that brought together the musical and writing talents of two... Read more

Debbie Siau crop6x4

Debbie's journey to positive energy


When Debbie Siau was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she thought her... Read more

jo ashcroft 2014 marathon

Loving the bipolar label


To those who don’t know her, Jo Ashcroft is the “bipolar lady”... Read more

Lance Elliott

Personal experience inspires hope


Wellingtonian Lance Elliott has lived with schizophrenia for more than 20 years.... Read more


Poets stand against stigma


Rapper and performance poet Chris McMurray is drawing on his personal experiences... Read more

Andrew Serjeant image 1a

Art, stigma and other things


Some people spend all their spare cash on vices. Artist Andrew Sarjeant... Read more

Tamihana 2

Dancing out of the dark


When Kapiti dancer Tamihana Paurini experienced depression, he would not accept stigma... Read more

Shane and Joanna LMLM 2012

Living with someone who has a mental illness

Shane and Joanne

Everyone except their doctor said it couldn’t work, two people with bipolar... Read more

Rugby black and white person sport competition

A brush with mental distress


Pita Alatini says his brush with mental distress after being dropped from... Read more

WW Sarah Gordon image 1

Lifting the barrier for those battling mental illness


Between stints in psychiatric care and hiding her diagnosis from friends, Sarah... Read more


Takatāpui part of the whānau


By speaking up and challenging his own, and others, long held beliefs,... Read more

hand microphone mic hold

Student's speech breaks down barriers


“ARE YOU NUTS??!!! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU??? So you’re CRAZY then!?” So... Read more

Kirsten Wong image 3

Shutting down discrimination 


Being an inaugural Like Minds, Like Mine ‘PODder’ is a very exciting... Read more

Rob image 2

Black comedy fights depression


There are not many people who have the ability to turn a... Read more

HYTMNW RachelRoss

Have you tried, maybe, not worrying?


2015 media grant fellow Rachel Ross was 22 when she became aware... Read more

Caitlin image 2

Thriving, not just surviving


Nineteen-year-old POD participant and Auckland University statistics student, Caitlin Smart, remembers her... Read more

Helena 4

Sharing experience gives others hope


“The advice I would give my younger self is – keep your... Read more

Natalie pexels photo

The Mindful Minute Challenge


Natalie Lanfear has lived with mental distress for ten years, although the... Read more


From China to NZ: A mental health journey

Sue's story

*Sue packed up her family’s life in China more than a decade... Read more

Brightside pexels photo 192997


The benefits of having experienced mental illness

It feels almost flippant to be talking about the benefits of having... Read more

Annie mychillybin100017 86 Small

Discrimination from friends hard to handle


Annie (36) is frustrated with her friends after an episode of mental... Read more

Joan of arc

A cacophony of creativity

Nine hear voices

Almost 600 years ago an illiterate, French peasant girl rose to prominence... Read more

Te Ariki LMLM 2012 cropped

Out of the darkness and into the light

Te Ariki

As the warm sunlight streams in through the window behind Te Ariki,... Read more

Editorial news media image 2


Why the media matters

Research indicates that uninformed media coverage of mental distress can contribute to... Read more