Jamie x Cynthia
Finding relief from stigma and isolation through nature and community
Through this colourful visual expression, mental health advocate Jamie Sea and artist Cynthia Sobraty express the solace and peace Jamie has found through their connection to nature and community. From fear and isolation to the freedom to be their true self, Jamie’s journey of transformation is represented in this work through the rhythmic layering of swirling colours, symbols and shapes.
Jamie Sea (they/them)
Growing up in the closet and secretly struggling with my mental health was terribly isolating. I felt alone in a deep dark blue pit of depression. I didn’t know it was so common to feel this way. We just didn’t talk about feelings.
My mental health started to rapidly deteriorate in my early 20s and it was really difficult to be myself around my friends and family. Society was starting to talk about depression and anxiety as very real experiences, but I felt that there was still far too much stigma to talk about dissociating and hallucinating. It was exhausting, trying to hide my distress and living in a constant fear of losing my mind. But once I found my chosen family, I finally felt myself shedding all of that fear and instead embracing honesty and community.
Cynthia Sobraty (they/them)
Going off what Jamie was describing to me, I wanted to evoke the feeling of community amidst chaos, and the sense of protection that comes with having a community, big or small, that you can seek refuge in.
Jamie described the feeling of being bipolar as oceanic in its breadth and calamity, swirling and surrounding. I made the ocean surrounding the three individuals in the middle very detailed to contrast the simplicity of the figures. The three figures are holding each other, physically and emotionally, and they overlap each other. The parts that overlap create a new segment, something that could not otherwise have been created without the other. This is symbolised by a new colour created in the overlay. The sun is drawn very naively, to symbolise the innocence and childlike nature within the warmth of such an embrace. I purposefully made the ocean deep blues to contrast the colourful parts of the piece.
MY VISIBLE MESSAGE
No matter how alone you feel in your mind, there will always be loved ones and strangers alike who will be there to listen and hold you tight - you just need to ask.
My wellbeing is closely connected to the people and places around me. I wanted to share my gratitude for the people who hold us tight when we feel alone. And I wanted to show my love for nature always comforting me.
I hope that you will see yourself in the warm embrace and remember how it feels to be held by your loved ones. That magic gooey feeling in your tummy and knowing that you are loved. We can get caught up in big intimidating ideas and feelings, and sometimes, not always, we can find comfort in a slow day in nature or a cuddle with a friend. Seemingly simple things give our brain a big burst of happy chemicals!
I started with a basic sketch of the whole thing, mapping it out. I inked the water first, which was very cathartic for me at the time. I was going through quite an emotional phase, so the water really ended up reflecting the ebbing and flowing nature of my internal landscape as I also reflected on what it was meant to symbolise, which was some sort of swirling chaos. From there I inked the figures and coloured them with copic markers and prisma pencils, creating lots of layered texture within the segments. It was a real journey to come to the final piece emotionally as so much was happening in the world, and still is.
I feel that Cynthia did an incredible job listening and engaging with my story. Cynthia perfectly visualised the core of my story and connections to community and nature. I love the way Cynthia used colour, to me there is a beautiful queerness in the expression. If I had to summarise and visualise my mental health journey and all that I have learned, Cynthia’s artwork sums it all up beautifully and perfectly.
Jamie Sea (they/them)
Jamie is an advocate for stigma reduction around complex mental illness and emotional expression. They want to encourage young people, especially LGBTIQA+ people, to be your true messy honest self and not worry about what anyone thinks! Jamie wants to change the way that we understand bipolar, and show that an emotional rollercoaster can be an empowering journey if we have the right support through the ups and downs. Jamie is motivated by their experiences to create a culture in which everyone is comfortable expressing the whole spectrum of human emotions in their personal and professional lives. We all have feelings, let’s talk about them.
Cynthia Sobraty (they/them)
Cynthia Spleen (they/them) aka plasticmessiah is an amalgam gremlin with their mask on backwards. Based in Naarm Melbourne, they are a creative jack of all trades and master of naught but what is between their ears. Tattooer, musician, visual artist and performer, Cynthia’s work draws from their array of loves and interests spanning pop culture, mental health, anachronistic curiosity and the many in-betweens they occupy. They are driven by their impulse and sense of honouring impermanence when it comes to creating, and also a desire to make the invisible visible. You can follow them in the streets, although the digital realm is preferable and far less awkward: @plasticmessiah