From misery to self-love
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
Art is a way to express yourself, heal deep traumas, understand others, connect with nature, and so much more. On top of that, art is universally one of the best ways to start a conversation, and when it comes to health (mental, physical, or emotional) raising awareness and reducing stigma is best done when viewers can receive a glimpse into the lives of those who have suffered. Art is a window into other people’s lives and souls, and when you step into their shoes, empathy follows much easier.
“Saint of Suicide,” and “Bathe in my own Misery”
Shawn Coss is an artist from Akron, Ohio, and his art focuses on mental illness. Self-described “artist for those who are broken,” Coss’ artwork digs deep into the beholder as his skeletal and ghoulish characters feel unnerving, yet all too familiar. His mental illness focused artwork derived from an inktober series beginning in 2016, which opened him up to creating more art that encouraged viewers to have open conversations about mental health. Coss has even worked for clients such as Stephen King!
Living in the UK but working worldwide, Toby Allen works on video games and children’s books as a freelance illustrator. He created the “Real Monsters” project in hopes to spread awareness and reduce stigma about mental illnesses that are lesser-known or misrepresented. Allen puts a face to the invisible monsters that cause so many people turmoil, but in doing so, makes the illnesses feel less threatening—as though they are characters we can work together with rather than a concealed enemy we have no chance fighting against.
Hannah Daisy is a London-based artist showcasing bright and joyful artwork with the occasional darker theme. Daisy’s work often focuses on mental and physical health, LGBTQAI+, and feminism. As a mental health occupational therapist, she hits the nail on the head for some of the less spoken about thoughts that may arise throughout the mental health journey. She’s most well-known for creating the hashtag #BoringSelfCare, which reclaims self-care in its truest, oftentimes boring, state.
Blake Neubert specializes in eerie portraits of popular figures, typically embracing blood-shot large eyeballs and terrified facial expressions. However, in February he stepped out of his comfort zone to create a series of portraits representing himself, each with a different look and meaning. Out of eight of them, the three here from left to right represent Neubert’s experience with trichotillomania, obsessive compulsive disorder, and bipolar disorder. They can be found on Neubert’s Instagram, and his captions are fantastically vulnerable and worth a read.