Artwork / Everything’s Fine

pink woolly mammoth balancing on a ball and holding helium-filled balloons soap bubbles filled with COVID floating over a porcupine, a representation of pandemic anxiety skeleton with a chick on top of its skull holding a paintbrush and contemplating things, mental health illustration by surrealist artist Gwenn Seemel one thorny rose and one smooth-stemmed rose with a thorny thought bubble, surrealist art two coyotes singing rainbows, one with a black hole where her heart should be pink plastic flamingos surrounding a tired real flamingo, surrealist art by Gwenn Seemel figure with a multi-colored column of traffic lights for a head a black-and-white panda that’s half white-and-black holding a clapperboard upside, art about all-or-nothing thinking

When a deadly airborne virus whose longterm impact is still TBA has taken over the world, hugging becomes a risk. People are sometimes physically separated by quarantines, but they’re also emotionally separated by ideological boundaries, pitting those who acknowledge science, wear masks, and get vaccinated against those who don’t.

Amidst all the divisions, art is a necessity on par with air, water, food, shelter, and health care. It’s the love of other humans made tangible across space and time. When a person can’t get a hug from a friend, art is there to make them feel seen and understood. It opens them up to new worlds, helping them to get outside of their own narrow experience, allowing them to become better and more loving.

And that’s even more true when the art is about mental health. With Everything’s Fine, I want to make it clear that I know that everything’s not. I don’t want anyone to think they’re the only one struggling with anxiety, depression, or PTSD as the world opens up again in Year 3 of COVID.

[video transcript]

As this video reveals, this series began in the fall of 2021 as biweekly online open studios during which made space for conversations about mental health.

Though the livestreams are over for now, I’ll continue to create new paintings, and the project will eventually become a series of postcards and posters that will be distributed for free via schools, public libraries, and mental health clinics.

To get updates about the project as it evolves, sign up for my mailing list!

development for Gwenn Seemel’s series Everything’s Fine was made possible by the Puffin Foundation Ltd