40 Seconds is an art project taken on by artist Ashley Mason located out of Jacksonville, Florida. The project is made possible through an artist grant awarded by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville and funded by the Community First Cares Foundation. Additional funds of support are being raised by generous Patreon supporters.
Every 40 seconds across the globe someone dies by suicide, 800,000 individuals each year. Suicide prevention programs and access to mental health resources are difficult at best to come by. My family has been directly impacted by suicide countless times in my lifetime, however, it has been exceptionally prevalent in 2019 as we’ve lost three family members/friends to suicide.
Statistics used in the creation of the project pieces have all been pulled from vetted 2016 and 2017 reports from various groups including the National Institute of Mental Health, Florida Vital Statistics Annual Report, Center for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization.
It will be a five (now six) piece series of art using acrylic painted canvas with organized 4”x4” Bristol vellum artist tiles strategically placed and meticulously drawn designs in archival ink. Each design will feature a bolder outline which includes the names of those that have died by suicide or previously made a suicide attempt and requested their name be included.
There will be 276 or 296 tiles across all six art pieces (the exact amount is TBD until I can lay the project out and decide which fits best).
These numbers are representative of two sets of age groups, our most vulnerable population: 276 represents 15-24 year-olds and the additional 20 are 10-14 year-olds all that died by suicide in the state of Florida in 2016.
There will be one large focal design measuring 48”x60” with a large semi-colon. The additional five pieces will be 24”x24” in size and each will have its own design with an accompanying placard explaining the significance of that piece and statistics related to it:
1) State of Florida – 3,122 deaths (2016)
2) 22 (large number design) – represents the 22 veterans that die daily
3) Equal sign/equality symbol – it’s believed that as many as 1/3 of suicides are by those in the LGBTQ+ community
4) Child silhouette – for the 517 children 10-14 years old that lost their lives nationally to suicide in 2017 5) JSO badge silhouette (this is a design addition that will be tweaked to be more inclusive as we get closer due to a spike in suicide rates among first responders including officers, corrections, firefighters, dispatchers, etc.)
These statistics are painful each on their own, but my hope is that the shock of seeing hundreds of tiles and knowing each represents a life will help drive home the impact of the importance of prevention, awareness and removing the stigma attached to these issues. In addition to hosting an exhibition and reception at the project completion that I will also be able to host a panel discussion with local experts as well as providing resource information for non-profits that serve our community that perhaps other community members are not aware of.