Kirzart - Mental Health Matters
Creativity is often a means of self-expression and escape. It has the ability to provide places of safety when the curveballs of life are hurled in our direction. Adopting an outlet is an important element of a balanced life, and with Mental Health on the rise within our community, we caught with Digital Artist, Kirzart, who has turned her private dealings with Mental Health into a public conversation..
According to The Institute of Race Relations, BME individuals detained under mental health legislation are 29% more likely to be forcibly restrained, they are 50% more likely to be placed in seclusion, and are overall more likely to report ill health due to poverty and societal inequalities. As these statistics rise, more and more Mental Health suffers are taking their healing into their own hands – literally.
"I like drawing unconventional things, as I think there’s beauty in everything”
Kirzart, formally known as Kirsty Latoya, is a London based Digital Artist and who has been suffering with mental health for several years. In a bid to veer her attention away from the negatives in her life, she has taken to an iPad and basic version of photoshop to create astounding and moving artwork, with the intention of sharing her experiences with the world, “my art has helped me deal with my issues and given me something to channel my negative thoughts in to. While I’m creating, I’m not thinking of anything else. I put all of my energy into it and I get so wrapped up in creating, that I forget about what’s going in my life.“
Finding an outlet to release is important for us all, whether we do or do not knowingly suffer from mental health. For Kirzart, although her work depicts what may be viewed as negative, she feels a sense of serenity when she begins to create, “it’s weird when I think about it. It’s so calming and because I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I’ll happily draw away and not get distracted”.
Living a world where distractions are in the palm of our hands, it’s imperative to remain focussed, especially in this art form, as it requires such precision. Her portfolio is built from self-reflective portraits, collaborative work and commissioned pieces. As the discussion of mental health becomes less and less taboo, Kirzart explains where she draws inspiration from, “A lot of my mental health pictures come from pictures of myself, and emotions I feel; other than that, they are just ideas I have in my head. I was working with a spoken word artist once, and her poem was about being enchained, and stuck in the same postcode. I asked myself, what can I do that hasn’t been done, and now that same picture is being shared in prisons”.
An innate trait of most creatives is open-mindedness, and a desire to respond to stigmatic issues. Kirzart is also inspired to make art that addresses another poignant conversation – beauty standards. Society has a way of whitewashing beauty and projecting a one-dimensional view of it, Kirzart curated a series of work that tackles this, “I have a skin series as well where I draw pictures of people with freckles and vitiligo, things that haven’t always been called beautiful. I like drawing unconventional things, as I think there’s beauty in everything”.
It is the simplicity of the picture but the depth of the message that captured the world's attention when she published a self portrait of her removing her own face. This striking image emphasised how our external expression is often a misrepresentation of internal condition. This perception also drew attention to how our new found reality (social media) has lack of self-esteem links to it, which leads to negative and lasting effects on millennial women specifically.
"A lot of my mental health pictures come from pictures of myself, and emotions I feel"
How we see ourselves is our most important opinion and as difficult as it may seem in the moment, a time when we can live free and fearlessly is the goal for most. This involves a changed mindset but depression, anxiety and other mental health illnesses cripple people’s behaviour and cloud their minds of the truth of who they are. The power of daily affirmation holds great weight and in asking Kirzart what affirmations she is currently reiterating, she confidentially answers, “I am great, I will be successful, I deserve happiness, and I deserve love.”
Socialise with Kirzart too - Instagram: @Kirzart | Twitter: @Kirzart | Online: www.kirzart.com
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