Charity art prints tackle topic of mental health stigma
Posted by See Me, 8 December 2021
A trio of Scots artists are standing up to mental health stigma through a collection of charity prints.
Artists Marcus Oakley, Conzo Throb and KMG have each produced an exclusive print for See Me, Scotland’s programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination.
The three different prints have been designed to get people talking about mental health and thinking differently about those who experience mental health problems.
Each piece has been inspired by the See Us movement, a Scotland-wide campaign calling on people from all walks of life to take action to tackle stigma and discrimination.
Marcus Oakley is an illustrator from Dunfermline, who also runs creative workshops in the community for young people with disabilities and in hospitals. His See Us-inspired print, Tea Time, plays on the idea that conversation and comfort can be found in simple things, like a chat over a cup of tea.
Marcus said: “The concept of my piece was saying that one of the most important things to do when it comes to mental health is to talk. That’s how we can improve things. It’s a long journey, but that first cup of tea can get that going.
“I have had anxiety and panic attacks so I understand how you can feel in this situation.
“In Edinburgh, I work with Artlink which helps people with disadvantages by using art. But the first thing we always do is have a cup of tea. Through my life, a cup of tea has helped me to chat.
“I have seen in a small way how art can improve people’s lives. It can’t change everything, but it can make things better.”
Glasgow-based Conzo Throb is one half of sign painting duo the Globël Brothers, producing work with humour and heart. His print, Clear Out, depicts the idea that while you might be smiling on the outside, more could be going on beneath the surface.
Conzo said: “Mental health, and the discussion of mental health, can still be seen as something that should be swept under the rug. It’s simply a top priority to look out for ourselves and others if we want to be more at peace in the world with whatever situation or phase we are going through.”
Artist, illustrator, printer and painter KMG believes in the power of art and regularly works with community groups, healthcare and educational institutions to help make art as accessible as possible.
Her print, Sending Love, comes from the idea of sending love to someone close to you, and the comfort and peace that can bring.
She said: “Sometimes you have so much going on in your head you can't find the words to explain how you're feeling, or you're overwhelmed by everything and can't find a way to express it without ending up down a rabbit hole of thoughts.
“I wanted to create an illustration that visually explored the concept of a loved one holding you up and surrounding you with love when everything feels too much.”
A portion of the profits from the sale of each print will go to See Me.
See Me director Wendy Halliday said: “We’re delighted to be working with such inspirational artists, who all represent tackling mental health stigma in totally different ways in their work.
“Changing perceptions of mental health problems is key in tackling stigma, and these prints can really help to do that. Through each of the prints, you can see that it is okay to express yourself and speak about how you are feeling, in whatever way suits you best.
“Buying these prints, sharing them with others, putting them up on your wall, or sending them as a Christmas present, and starting a conversation on mental health, means you are taking action to tackle stigma, and are part of the See Us movement.”