Artists have used their talents to express their battles with mental health issues and the stigma that surrounds it through their creativity, whether it be paints on canvas, music and lyrics or even dance, they have used their preferred mediums to depict what it is like to live with an illness that can’t be cured like the common cold or by ‘smiling’, and how it manifests in a work of art.
Young artists are finding ways to break social norms through art, using graphic design as their chosen medium (also, drawings and illustrations converted to digital formats.) These ‘zine’ artists (zine- from magazine or fanzine, using a combination of written word and illustrations to send a message, educate or spread awareness, not limited to informative purposes, and can be wildly humourous,) have taken to their social media accounts to document their lives, using their art to express their emotions and bring to light the realities of living with a mental illness. This is not to say that zine artists speak only about mental health, it is just one of the many barriers (including but not limited to, feminism, gender equality, politics, various social issues,) they are pushing past so that people viewing their work can be assured that there is certainly nothing wrong with having a mental illness, neither is there an issue speaking about it openly, often times encouraging it.
Speaking of zine art, this style of art stems from the post-war art genre; Pop Art. It is characterised by its vivid colours, bold iconography and text to create a visual social commentary. Its quirky, cartoon-like style and hint of humour are popular amongst younger generations because these mass-produced prints are super relatable.
Whilst some artworks show visual demonstrations of mental disorders, the artist’s inner demons materialized on canvas in the form of a monster or apparition that personifies thoughts, other works show the feeling one has while dealing with mental health through their choice of colours and brush strokes. Art, in this case, accomplishes two things; 1. Allows artists to express their emotions, perhaps allowing them to release, process, heal, 2. Helping the viewer to absorb what they perceive from the work and use that to process what they are going through, either initiating conversation or answering questions, providing closure or relatable understanding.
Artwork: Stuck in the Past by Praveen Yarramilli
www.mymodernmet.com- 7 Colorful Masterpieces That Define the Pop Art Movement