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How Art Allows Me to Deal with Anxiety

21 Oct 2015

Art is a highly idiosyncratic experience; each individual interprets any art piece through their own lense, which is shaped through our subjective histories, emotions and memories. Artists are essentially baring themselves to the world, when their art is put out there which, in effect, creates a range of intersubjective experiences between artist and viewer.optimistic latina
and i was like meyou

I often find it difficult to express what it is that causes my anxieties; these illustrations are my attempt at personifying some of the many thoughts that bombard my mind. They are symbolic of the complex I have with my own cultural identity, my relationships and general society-induced pressures that many young people feel today. These are the first of my illustrations that have been digitally drawn as it allows me a freedom in experimenting with bright flat colours that recur in this series.


WHATbut you seem so calm

Frida Kahlo, a woman after my own heart with her eccentric use of colour as well as her strong character, experienced a fair share of pain and anguish in her lifetime (she suffered from polio at a young age which caused one of her legs to become paralyzed, followed by a car crash a few years on which left her wheelchair-bound for much of her life). Her self-portraits are rich and honest depictions of her own mental and physical struggles, and her extremely raw representation of the female form is something I find admirable.


An artist like Frida, whose primary subject focus was herself, has the incredibly daunting task of revealing themselves, their insecurities and their fears to the world, and this feeling of vulnerability is something that I initially struggled with. The process of creating my drawings has an overwhelming therapeutic quality, as it allows me to escape the monotonous thoughts which are the subjects of many of my illustrations.

We are in an era where the topic of anxiety has become increasingly familiar and my work allows me to metaphorically hold a banner above my head which says, “I’m anxious”. This, in effect, makes me feel more sane, if such a thing exists.


Maia’s work can be found here