Each artist will create a unique piece of art inspired by key messages, personal stories and direct quotes from the youth we have interviewed. These works of art will be used to create posters, postcards, and a book sharing stories from youth about their real lived experience with the goal of raising awareness about the impact of stigma, dispelling misconceptions, and promoting self-acceptance.
If you would like to stay connected with the campaign, please sign up with your email at the bottom of this page or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Artist Instagram: @softworlds (https://www.instagram.com/softworlds/)Website: http://www.bugcru.com/
"I am a queer, trans, spoonie, neurodivergent visual artist, illustrator and tattooist. Scottish, Dutch White Settler and Kanien'kehá:ka. I grew up primarily on Lkwungen territory 'Victoria, BC,' and moved around a bit both as a kid and in my early 20's. I've been based out of the occupied and un-ceded Coast Salish lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations in 'Vancouver BC,' over the past four to five years.
Drawing inclined my main focus has been tattoo and illustration. While also centering printmaking, zines, comics, digital media, painting, textiles, poetry and writing in a ongoing exploration of mediums. As someone that feels the world visually, art has been a intrinsic focus throughout my life. My practice aspires to align with radicalism, accessibility, anti oppressive thinking and DIY. Hoping to offer my work as a tool in actively dismantling structures of kyriachy and the autonomy of my communities.
I believe there is a vital source of survival and empowerment to be found in the unapologetic documentation of personal histories and perspectives. My own is a navigation of trauma, healing, emotionality, magic, gender, bodies, human connection and the crisis of late capitalism. Understanding self, reality, time and lifetimes as fluid. Focusing on imagining queer worlds and beautiful possibilities. Painting this through a lens of outsider art and magical realism; I draw to bridge, communicate and survive."
As an artist on the later side of youth, two years sober, and living with multiple mental illnesses/complicated neurodivergence; fighting stigma is important to me. I'd love to work with your organization using art as a platform for this.
My art is primarily illustration, line drawing and influenced by my practice in self taught tattooing. Themes are drawn from my experiences in the world and that which I share with the people I love!
I do think that it is important to uphold lived experience in projects like these, because without those voices it is questionable if projects like these can easily become replications of authority and institutions that further marginalize the very people they aim to support.
Instagram: @Pupiltotheiris (https://www.instagram.com/pupil_to_the_iris/)
I would love to participate in this campaign because, as a survivor of substance abuse, I honestly didn’t know that people still cared. I didn’t know that there were still organizations that reached out like this and want to make an impact. I still struggle with my mental health on a daily basis but it would mean the world to me to give back to a group of people who I connect with so deeply. If my artwork makes even a pebbles worth of difference to someone who’s having a rough time in life or to the organization itself, I would be over the moon.
My artwork is a representation of my thoughts in that moment so each painting is very unique. I’ll attach some pieces that really resonate with me however I encourage you to check out my instagram because it’s my full online portfolio and it is a better representation of who I am as an artist. I’m really excited that you guys are doing this, regardless of if my artwork is one of the few selected I would love to get involved in anyway I can. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you’re in need an extra set of hands for whatever reason.
I would also like to say thank you for extending an opportunity to independent artists, such as myself, who want to make a positive impact in the world.
Instagram @mauve.canvas (https://www.instagram.com/mauve.canvas/)
This campaign interests me as I believe it helps give voice to populations that are sometimes marginalized: youth and those whom have lived experience.
My work is often inspired by women of colour: the women I call friends and family. Through my art I hope to express that despite being different/uniqueness/having flaws, self acceptance and self love are essential.
As mentioned before, I believe inclusiveness is important with those who have lived experience as it helps to empower individuals and reduce stigma.
While my own lived experience might be common, how I coped and overcame adversity is unique. No one individual’s experience is the same.
Website: https://kross8809.wixsite.com/krossart/artworkTwitter: @KatArt8809 (https://twitter.com/KatArt8809)Tumblr: http://krossart.tumblr.com/Deviant Art: deviantart.com/krossart
I am a 20 yr old freelance artist who struggles with high anxiety, depression, and have undiagnosed ASD and ADHD (of the inattentive flavour). Both of my younger brothers have diagnosed ASD, and both my father, mother and stepfather land somewhere undaignosed on the autism spectrum. I have been creative from the minute my mother put a pencil in my hand when I was a toddler. She sent me in the direction of constantly doing artwork and is my biggest inspiration in life. I am interested in participating in this project to shed some light on the discussion around ASD and Anxiety, (anxiety being the bigger piece for me) and to try to get a bigger picture of others out there who have similar struggles as I do.
My artwork generally is to promote acceptance and inclusion- which relates most to my character design work. I enjoy breathing life into well rounded characters (Sometimes that's a literal statement!) and finding ways to become more aware of how to present different types of people. Full pieces tend to be built around deep feelings of emotions.
I believe campaigns like this one are very important in both spreading awareness and including those who have the lived experience. Its incredibly important to do so to see the perspective of those and the experience of those who you wish to bring awareness about.
I was diagnosed with autism at a very young age. I struggled with stress during high school. I never done drugs and there were times when I wanted to give up easily, but through music and art it became more than comfort. It also became my love for it.
I wanted to participate in the campaign because its very important to me to share and contribute to the community that accepted me for who I am. I have been judged by people who didn't understand me, especially my parents. I've been discouraged but I managed to push through good and rough times.
I also run a group for autistic, queer individuals with a friend, where we create a safe space to have monthly discussions from struggling in adulthood to consent and boundaries to sexuality and so on.
I am excited to participate in the campaign because I believe in having strong influences. In saying that I am striving to become that myself.
I am trying to see if I can get involved with the ministry, volunteering to help build baby books or scrap books for the kids in care. I know for me my foster mother made me one before she passed away and even if I didn't have a real home, it was my home.
Also I feel like I might have an extra out of the box contribution. I have been given 7 mental health diagnosis in which I have been dealing with every day. I struggle lots, yes, but I find art any form to be healing.
Mental health can be so tough, and I think it is the most hardest on our age group. For me it was ageing out of foster care, it can make everything so much harder. You feel alone when you age out and it is so hard to let people in because you are already struggling inside so much. For me it was the whole, in care you know you have a bad day there is someone to help, once you're an adult you don't really have anyone to trust. I mean I am only 21 but I already feel that huge shift of how mental health is shifted in the eyes of people.
Instagram: @amiesartcorner (www.instagram.com/amiesartcorner)
I have struggled with anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. Throughout high school I never reached out and refused to talk to counselors because I was afraid of what people would say/think about me. All I want is for people struggling the way I have to understand they aren’t alone and they can do anything in this big world.
Two of my friends (one my best friend) has a mental disorder I found out recently, and so does my boyfriend and his two siblings who come from an abusive home and have been in foster care short-term. The mental disorders are a minor case yet very little is known about them. I want to help create a campaign with a message that we are just regular people (successful even) who have extra challenges to deal with but that this doesn't mean we aren't fully capable workers or business people and that we are fully functional. Mental issue doesn't mean we are crazy.
I would like to share the feeling of this sentence: "A veil has been lifted" when I finally got the proper mental health treatment I didn't know I needed and experience the lens the rest of the world has been seeing. I want to create cool designs or even symbols that could be integrated into bag pins or even used as coffee mug backgrounds so this can be as assimilated into daily life as possible. I wanted this to look so cool people would ask what is it or where did I get it from.
Hi. My name is Nina Aldewood and I'm 24 years old and I live in the DTES of Vancouver.
Art is essentially my life. I work as an artist and also work thru Coast Mental health now doing peer support, which includes using art as a form of therapy. I have struggled with my own mental health and addictions. I have anxiety and depression amongst other mental health issues and I was a heroin addict but i been clean off it for nearly 4 years now.
As for my art, art not only continues to be a form of therapy for me, I use it also to inspire. I do abstract paintings with acrylic paint. I usually do pour paintings. My brand is New Angle Art and I do my work mostly thru my Facebook page. I have done many paintings and been part of a few local galleries, My art is a way to express myself and truly enjoy it !
I have been writing poetry for as long as I can remember. Most of my work is about mental health and substance use. It is my dream to one day write and publish a book of my poetry to tell my story. I think there is lots of other youth and young adults who can relate to my story and writings.
Instagram: @derryllynn (https://www.instagram.com/derryllynn/)Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/artistderryllynn/
I love the idea of coming together in the community to promote mental health while working with the immense power of art. In June, I will be graduating with a Master of Counselling and Art Therapy degree, and this type of work speaks to me.
My name is Randall Barnetson. I am Nadleh Whut'en Dakelh and of the Bear Clan. I have suffered from Severe depression and anxiety my entire life. It's not easy to communicate to someone who doesn't suffer from these types of mental illness what they feel like. It's difficult to understand for oneself, let alone explain it someone who has no idea what it's like. I'm fortunate to have great supports around me who understand me and inspire me to express myself through my art. As a Indigenous person from BC, I use the Northwest Coast art style to express myself. Using my traditional designs as a framework to make sense of contemporary topics.
The piece I am submitting is one I call "Depression". I wanted to attempt to portray what it feel like to have depression. It is self portrait per say of my inner self and how I feel when I battling my mental illness.
I am excited to help take part in a campaign regarding mental health issues. Having mental health issues can be very isolating. I hope that through my work and sharing my story that other individuals with similar illnesses came make sense of their own stories
There definitely is plenty of stigma associated with mental health issues. If this is helping to break down some of that stigma I would be excited to be a part of it.
I am a first year fine arts student a North Island College on Vancouver Island. I am working towards finishing a Bachelors of Fine Arts and then completing a Masters in Art Therapy. Art therapy is a subject that is close to my heart, as I believe that other people can benefit from the same joy and healing that I have experienced in creating.
Since adolescence, I have had considerable anxiety and depression over the years. It wasn't until last year, when I enrolled into a serigraphy course at North Island College, that I found an outlet to help focus my anxiety.
I have realized that I am meant to create. It is what brings me happiness in life.
This campaign resonates with the ideas and projects that I personally would like to take part in. I think that fine art and creating in general can be used as a positive tool to help people with mental health and substance abuse. It is also can be a great way to assist with the de-stigmatization of topics that are hard to address, as well as start important conversations that are needed to be had.
I am primarily a print maker, but as a fine arts student we are encouraged to learn areas of other practices, including painting and drawing. I find inspiration from the world around me and strive to explore alternative realities, or highlight the beauty that fascinates me in naturally occurring patterns.
I hope that others can be inspired to try something new, that they too can take a chance on doing something they never thought they could. As well realize the importance of making something for yourself, purely for you and that it should be celebrated.
The more an individual learns about other people's personal stories and can empathize with their shared experiences, I think offers opportunity for learning and understanding. It is relevant to include art from people with different backgrounds, because it can help to reduce discrimination by changing negative behaviours and attitudes, often associated with mental health problems and substance abuse.
As a survivor of teenage cancer, I have the experience of being given a second chance at life. I never really understood what I wanted, but combining art and helping other people is my path.
Website: http://tessahughesart.weebly.com/Instagram: @robinsfellow (https://www.instagram.com/robinsfellow/)
Hey! My name is Robin, and I'm a 23 year old traditional and digital visual artist living independently on the North Shore. I'm also a texture artist for film! But most importantly for the purpose of this campaign, I'm a nonbinary person with a history of trauma, severe depression, and anxiety, who has gone through a hell of a lot to get to where I am today.
Before moving to Vancouver, I grew up in Langley, in a household of abuse day in and day out for nearly 18 years. After barely graduating high school while dealing with severe depression, anxiety attacks, and trauma, I moved out on my own 3 months after, 1,000 kilometres away to Calgary, Alberta, and barely spoke to my family or anyone from my hometown for the next several years. I firmly believe the only reason I managed to go through with this decidedly huge and crazy decision was a private therapist my mother knew from her connections to the school board that I saw in the last year of high school.
After years of coping on my own as a teenager, thanks to a an abysmal school counsellor who did more harm than not, I had been using self harm and brute force to get through my panic attacks, and still only made it to maybe 3 days per week in grade 12. On the days I did get out of bed, I made it through the school day without leaving by drawing on every spare corner of my work, and am forever grateful to the teachers who encouraged my art, despite falling grades, as an antidote to my obviously miserable situation.
After a particularly bad stretch of calls home, my mom, who I was now living with full-time, made me an appointment. This therapist finally gave me the tools to deal with everything I'd been destroying myself over, and one of those tools was art. When I was panicking, rather than hurt myself she told me to pick up a pen and scribble lines furiously in a style that I still incorporate today. If I woke up drowning and sore from a night full of night terrors and panic and couldn't make it to school, I could roll over to my desk and slowly slop some colours on a canvas. In our short time span before I became determined to move away, she focused on giving me coping tools, and methods to deal with my health, and taught me methods other than isolation to repair a foundation that I had never had the chance to build. At our last visit she gave me a book that I still have on my shelf in front of me called 'Oh The Places You'll Go' by Dr Seuss.
And so despite having no family or friends in Calgary except the one I moved out to be with that left me soon after, a barely livable income, shakily stable mental health, and many situations that could have left me homeless, I managed, and things slowly got better. I built a support system of friends all on my own, and a career that very slowly let me save up over years to attend the school I'd been dreaming of in North Vancouver. It was a struggle the entire way, in particular when I started to come out as nonbinary in conservative Calgary, but because when I was young someone recognized that I was going through something even if they didn't quite know what, and got me help, I had the tools to get through it. Time alive let me heal.
This campaign is incredibly important to me because of how common I know this kind of experience is, and how many people don't get lucky the way I did. There are so many times that were a coin flip that would have led to me not being here today. I know that as a kid I didn't want terms like 'depression' to be applied to me, or be the one who had to slink out of the counsellors office to avoid being ridiculed by my peers because of the stigma surrounding it that I would love to banish nowadays. Instead, music and art and stories gave me ways to relate to other kids who didn't have the words to describe what they were going through either. Sometimes I would manage to draw things that struck a chord in certain people who could recognize exactly what was going on, and it was those conversations that led me to finally accepting the term 'abuse' as something that applied to me, and that label let me accept that I could be helped just like everyone else. I would be happy to contribute anything I have learned over the course of my life to this campaign to hopefully help others reach out and find help when they need it, and keep generations of young people alive long enough to heal.
This campaign is a wonderful idea and I wish all the best to you and all participants :)
Instagram: @brendanmurphydesign (https://www.instagram.com/brendanmurphydesign/)
I like that this project shows off artists that normally wouldn't have a chance to show off their art. I am a sculptor, have been since i first picked up Play-Doh back in my folks place in Winnipeg. I'm in love with wrinkles, the flow of the face. Because of this interest I have a lot of older friends. I was a big drinker, liked to have fun, whatever someone brought to the party was usually on the table. I'm a lot more grounded now, sculpting/ drawing takes up most of time these days. I learn by just touching everything and you can usually find me talking pictures of tree bark or cracks in the sidewalk in east van.
Instagram @benni_________ (https://www.instagram.com/benni_________/)Website: www.reallynewgaystuff2018.com
benni is a canadian artist, curator, and activist practicing in montréal, quebec. they have exhibited, performed, and organized across canada and have been a part of several artist/curatorial collectives. benni's artistic practice and advocacy work uses a collaborative approach in working for queer and trans liberation and change in mental health/addictions policy and practice. recently their installation work, queer coping mechanisms, was shown at the canadian harm reduction conference (2018) where they co-facilitated a workshop for social service workers working with queer and trans youth who experience challenges due to their drug use and mental health. during a month long residency at school of the alternative (black mountain college, nc) they co-facilitated an anti-stigma, harm reduction, & naloxone training session for artists. they also completed a sculpture residency at salem art works (salem, ny) in 2018. their book and web project reallynewgaystuff2018 includes their own work and work of 51 artists from the u.s and canada was exhibited in crying/laughing (friends & neighbours galley, 2018). the publication and website documents moments of intimacy in the face of despair, rage, humour, anachroromance and kinship between artists, writers, drug users, folx in recovery, queer, trans, and nonbinary folx, healers, and sex workers. this work was a fundraising item for overdose prevention sites. benni has since been performing their written work from it using live looping in collaboration with noise artists. benni has a bachelor of communication & media studies from macewan university, edmonton, ab (2015) and is now working on a bachelor of fine arts in studio arts at concordia, montréal, qc.
Raising awareness and working for policy/programming change in mental health and addictions for both youth and adults is very important to my work as an artist. As someone who lives with complex ptsd, bpd, bipolar and a long history of addiction — it is essential to my recovery as a now sober addict, psychiatric survivor, and trauma survivor to give back to my community and de-stigmatize the experiences of youth as a point of empowerment, survival, growth, and resilience. I think it is essential to include art by people with lived experience in a project like this because I strongly believe that art is a tool of survival and community building when it is by and for members of an affected community. I stand by the political statement, “Nothing About Us, Without Us” that has been repurposed in harm reduction activism today.
artist statementbenni researches social practice and performance at the height of the hiv/aids crisis for their own interventionist practices in the overdose crisis, recovery communities, and queer and trans liberation. they focus on collaboration as critical medium, open access platforms for education, and anti-capitalist arts organizing while challenging their own complacency in the neoliberal model of social practice. their installations propose contradictory environments as spaces to reflect on unresolved conflict both emotional and political. they work to foster radical accountability, radical acceptance, and empowerment in community and in discussions of addictions, trauma, and recovery. their process engages both mindfulness and impulsiveness to untangle a vulnerable voice from a heavily curated voice in sculpture, installation, and performance. their sculptural practice articulates personal and political narratives surrounding addictions, trauma and recovery through the manipulation of found objects and reuse of material. their performance and video practice works with poetic prose in some way in most of their projects. they believe in supporting artistic expression of others as a means to achieve social, cultural, and economic justice through collaborative and curated projects in their community. art is a means of survival for them and for folx in their queer, trans, drug user, and recovery communities. they do community organizing that emotionally supports folx who face discrimination because of their mental health, gender identity/sexuality, and experiences with abuse/trauma.
As a person who has struggled with their mental health for over a decade, this campaign is important to me because it gives a voice to youth who are in pain, and are suffering. By sparking the conversation about mental health and bringing awareness to a difficult topic, it can inspire young people to get the help that they need. Among the multitude of mental health struggles I have experienced, severe depression and suicidal ideation has been among them. I've often felt hopeless, and like my existence on this earth doesn't have much purpose. But if me and my art are able to give a voice to even one person's pain, if participating in this motivates even one person to reach out for help, if this is able to save a life... That is purpose. It makes me grateful to still be around, and able to participate in this project.
I am a portrait artist who primarily works with realism. In my art I strive to capture the essence of a person and love to portray strong emotions. I enjoy working with colour because it can really bring a portrait to life, and playing with colour has the ability to convey emotion with more intensity. When people view my art, I hope that they look into the eyes of a portrait and are able to feel emotion resonate within them. I hope that they look at a portrait, and wonder what that person's story is. I hope that it makes people consider more deeply that each and every person they come across, every face they encounter, is a human being with complex emotions and a unique story. All in all, I hope it inspires people to appreciate the complex beauty of the humans they see around them, including the one in the mirror. I hope it encapsulates both the beauty and the pain of life.
Website: https://www.behance.net/midoriryansTwitter: @midorindrgiants (https://twitter.com/midorindrgiants)
My work, when exploring mental health/trauma, focuses on exposing that mental health struggles can't always be seen, and have factors that may not, for many individuals, be easy to explain. Verbal speech is often a limited way to communicate the complexities and seemingly contradictive aspects of one's mental health concerns, and more often then not, art and writing is the only effective way to express lived experiences, to get others to truly feel even a smidgen of how we feel, what we experience, or to reach out to others who may relate.
The common public needs to be aware that mental health concerns can develop in anyone. Attacking the stigma that erects a wall of "us vs. them" is something that will help everyone... from allowing current mental health sufferers to cope in dignity... to creating a culture of awareness and understanding for those at risk of developing mental health concerns later in life, whether they think they will or not. Stigma is half the problem.
The hardest part in my struggle with depression and anxiety, has been simply getting it recognized. I am Autistic. And even though Autistic people are 80% more likely to develop depression and/or anxiety, both conditions are treated as though they are simply a part of being Autistic, and Autistic folk rarely receive help. This is what happened to me... autism stigma and mental health stigma collided like a match to a puddle of gasoline, each making the other worse. And I would like to express to society that when an Autistic kid shows up to school poorly dressed and malnourished... it's not because they're Autistic.
Finally, I'd like to take down the stigma that brands mental health sufferers as victims and undesirables to be pitied... to rebrand us survivors, people who have faced down or still face a great challenge reserved for few... and that with the right supports, we can come out strong. Coming out stronger than I ever would have been has always been my goal.
Our stories are worth telling, and our experiences can offer insight. My insight comes from not only my personal experiences, but also from my experiences as a caretaker and loved one of other sufferers... from my mother's bi-polar, to my father's brain injury, and my fiance's year-long trauma-induced depression.I've witnessed mental health from both the perspective of the sufferer, the caretaker, and the powerless loved one.They all deserve a voice.
I want to participate in this campaign because mental health is important and can affect anyone. I want to be a part of supporting mental health awareness.
It is I, Breezy.
Artist | Film-maker | Peer Support Worker (in training)
EDUCATION |Recent graduate from Intersections Media focusing on skills of video editing, animation, & film-making. A graduate from LaSalle College: diploma in Multimedia Technology & Art and finishing Coast Mental Health's Internship for Peer Support Worker.
RECENT WORK |Currently an actress, writer, & concept artist for a filmed theatre production called "Merchant of Hastings St." dealing with modern day issues in Vancouver such as gentrification, fentynal crisis, & class struggle.
I was hired from MCFD to create a poster as a reminder to "Check Your Privilege" and to reduce the gaps of miscommunication between staff and youth.
The link directs you to a YouTube video I was the Associate Director (ending has credits) as well as being an actor, video editor, and story boarder.
Growing up in an unstable environment with mental health and stigma, I didn't get the direction I needed. Art was always there for me. People's art was there for me when people couldn't be there for me. I want to be a pillar in that foundation.
VSB / Graphic Designer - December 2018I was commissioned to create an advertisement poster for a prospective 2020 Japan trip, at Magee Secondary. I ended up designing two different posters, one of which was printed and used by the VSB.
Emily Carr University (ECUAD) / Summer Art Intensive - June 2018 - August 2018I studied at Emily Carr over the summer in a graphic design program, part of the Summer Institute for Teens. Classes went 5 days a week, from 9am to 4pm. The program drastically increased my design skills and taught me the nuances of the industry, as well as the importance of satisfying clients.
I've dealt with mental health issues for almost my entire life, and have been through a lot. I have been diagnosed with depression, ADHD, social anxiety and ptsd (post traumatic stress disorder). Two things that helped me survive during rough times, were art and writing; through these two mediums, I'm able to express feelings I otherwise wouldn't be able to deal with by myself.
I think it is important to share our passions and creations to destroy the stigma around mental health and substance abuse. I started suffering from depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, drug addiction, and alcoholism when I was 12 years old. Art has always been a healthy outlet for me to express my emotions and to constructively get through challenges. It's been a beautiful vessel that has given me purpose and motivation to keep going. It has connected me to like-minded individuals, and people who can relate; and has opened the minds of those who can't. I'm inspired by growth, change, and transformation. I'm inspired by people who have conquered their demons, and I keep creating for those who have not. Through art, I share a message of hope, courage, strength, and the infinite power of positivity.