This is the first purely personal piece of artwork I’ve made in a long time, and with it I’m going to break away from the norms here and share something. After spending time with dear friends yesterday and talking about process and struggles, I felt compelled to make something and talk about something I usually hide away.
The fact is, for over a decade I’ve been fighting with anxiety and depression. I feel very weird writing this here— it seems like in the online world it’s something we’re supposed to tuck away. It might not be professional, or it could come off as complaining or bleak. But I do not mean this to be, dear readers. I know that we are products of our experiences and the tough critic I am has made me a stronger tougher illustrator. But it is something that has been a struggle, knocked me down and left me feeling lost and isolated. When my work failed or floundered, it became a reflection of myself. Coupled with a mean perfectionistic streak, it’s lately made me question my personal practice to the point that working on anything for myself felt like a waste of time and effort. Doubly strange and hard when I see my students struggle, leap and grow in school, but feeling paralyzed myself.
I still feel very weird writing this. But I feel like it’s important to take a risk and be honest about this part of me to evolve beyond it, and also share with those who work and struggle and feel alone. After all, process isn’t just the pretty sketches but it’s also the rough scribbles.
I write this with a positive note; after finally getting sick of this pattern I am taking strides to fight these issues at their core and separate my well-being from my work, and for the first time in a while I’m starting to feel good (knock on wood). It’s still a long road yet, and I know it’s something I might fight my whole life, but that’s the benefit of art-making— when we can actually get deep within the work, we can learn new things and get lost (and found) at the same time.
Thank you for following me and reading this; even though I may not know you all it makes me happy that I can share with you and fight the good fight. Hopefully there will be a lot more art to share soon—till the next.