Josh x Jayden
Finding new ways to express and process emotions through art
In his mental health journey, advocate Josh Muir has often used visual art as a way to manage anxiety and process emotions. Working in partnership with musician Jayden Lillyst, Josh’s experience with anxiety, depression and paranoia is expressed through an entirely new medium, with shapes and colours transformed into melodies and harmonies.
Josh Muir (he/him)
Anxiety, depression and paranoia are some of the messages I’d chosen to come across in the music. The arts and mental health go hand in hand, and music has always been a strong focus for me. I’m a visual artist myself and I feel like art decorates space, while music decorates time, and it was good to bring these together.
Art is a therapeutic platform for me. I need art and I can’t go a day without it. It’s my way of voicing how I’m feeling and what I’m going through. Some people might find playing music or sport is their thing – any recreational activity that you might have. Art is one of those things that I need to balance my lifestyle and help me deal with the emotions that I might be feeling at the time. It’s almost a necessity.
Jayden Lillyst (he/him)
My expression for Josh’s experience is ‘Better headspace’. Why this seemed relevant is because of the message I wanted to impart on Josh, but also, through my own lived experience, show him there is a road back to where HE wants to be.
Josh is a Visual artist as well as mental health advocate so I think this was a great experience, getting these two mediums of Music and Visual art space to dance together, crash, be broken, then reassemble into something amazing. With Josh’s particular story, I think vibrance was the word I tried to use to guide me through. Trying to translate his shapes, forms, colours, into licks, melodies and harmonies.
MY VISIBLE MESSAGE
Don’t be afraid. Don’t live in fear. There are many people who can support you. Fear less!
I want to set an example by speaking openly about mental health issues. I hope to encourage people to think about their own experiences and share them with others. I hope we push the message out there for people who are listening so they can really absorb it and use it as a tool to make their lives and their mental health issues a bit more understood.
I can only speak on behalf of myself, I can’t speak on behalf of the entire mob, but I think it’s also important to show First Nations people being really productive in this space. I hope I can be an example of what you can do in this space as a First Nations young person – as a creative or as someone with mental health issues.
For me, the creative process was trying to get as much of Josh’s story that he wanted to present, then presenting it in the way that he wanted. It was great that we had come up with so many different angles around how we could present his story, which had both direct and indirect effects on the end result.
Jayden’s a great, down to earth guy. He’s got a good mindset and really comprehended the project, and the direction it was taken in. I clicked really well with him and found his process interesting. I think Jayden’s soundtrack strongly and creatively captures the reflection of our process and what it’s like for me to undergo my mental health issues and the challenges around that.
Josh Muir (he/him)
Josh is passionate about suicide prevention, mental health awareness and creativity. In his role as an Australian Youth Advocate for Mental Health, Josh hopes to help young people establish their sense of belonging, their identity as well as strengthen their cultural values. When he is not practising art or advocating for youth mental health, Josh enjoys taking pictures and making video art. He is a very creative person and finds peace with art.
Jayden Lillyst (he/him)
Jayden Lillyst is a Gunditjmara singer songwriter who creates a refreshing mix of soul, blues, country and rock. Influenced heavily by stories within Aboriginal music that came before him, he aims to continue that story. Jayden has had the pleasure of working with some of Victoria’s best Aboriginal Musicians such as Robert Champion, Uncle Kutcha Edwards, James Henry, Jesse Lloyd, Lee Morgan, Maylene Slater-Burns, Uncle Robert Bundle and the Late Uncle Peter Rotumah to name a few.