Artwork / Everything’s Fine

volcano heart erupting with a switch turned to “on,” a representation of emotional dysregulation, illustration by mental health artist Gwenn Seemel two grey seahorses (part horse and part fish creatures) with an alarming cupcake and two almond tree branches water striders skimming space, illustration by mental health artist Gwenn Seemel soap bubbles filled with COVID floating over a porcupine, a representation of pandemic anxiety pink plastic flamingos surrounding a tired real flamingo, surrealist art by Gwenn Seemel grey octopus, holding a rainbow eyeball balloon, surrealist art about mental health chickadee singing a garbled version of themselves, surrealist art about mental health slot machine robot with a heart for an activation button, reels that show angry face emojis, and coins that are sad face emojis spilling out cats marching band that obviously doesn’t work, surrealist art about mental health pink woolly mammoth balancing on a ball and holding helium-filled balloons a field of daffodils, but two of the flowers are monstrous figures hiding amongst the blossoms, surreal art skeleton with a chick on top of its skull holding a paintbrush and contemplating things, mental health illustration by surrealist artist Gwenn Seemel a black-and-white panda that’s half white-and-black holding a clapperboard upside, art about all-or-nothing thinking one thorny rose and one smooth-stemmed rose with a thorny thought bubble, surrealist art figure with a multi-colored column of traffic lights for a head two coyotes singing rainbows, one with a black hole where her heart should be figure made up of measuring tape with a scale for a face, holding a bank statement and phone with all their zeroes on social media airplane Earth is crashing and the oxygen mask comes down, but the dragonfly can’t use it, illustration about solastalgia and help that doesn’t help flying fish with an anchor attached to its tail

Art is a necessity, just like 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 only more true when it’s art 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 trauma.

These images are meant to be a starting place. “I feel like this,” you might say, pointing to one in particular. You could use a postcard of the painting as a bookmark or a digital image as a smartphone background—private reminders that at least one other person, AKA me, has felt like you. You might even use your favorite image as a profile pic or hang a poster where everyone can see it on your next video call. You can speak through these paintings.

Or maybe they can help you figure out how to describe what’s going on in your head. Each image comes with two sets of questions: one to allow you to engage directly with the painting and one that reveals more about what I was going through when I made the piece. Together—through images and words, but also through your expereince and mine—hopefully we can find some healing.

However you use it, Everything’s Fine is meant to belong to you as much as it belongs to me. That’s true of all my work—I place all my images directly in the public domain, free for use by anybody for any reason, without asking permission first—but it’s especially true of this project. These images were designed with you in mind, both because I need to feel like I’m not alone and because I want you to feel that connection as well.

surreal coloring book and mental health workbook for teens by genderqueer artist Gwenn Seemel, published in 2024
Everything’s Fine, the coloring book

This is the coloring book version of this series of paintings. It includes nineteen dreamlike coloring pages and the questions for reflection to go with them, and it’s meant to help you embrace your complexity with creativity and kindness.

Everything’s Fine is available for $19. This price does not include shipping or tax, which will be calculated by Lulu, the service that prints and ships the book. You can download a PDF version for $5.

$5 $19

lesson plan for high school art class: Surreal Self-portraits
lesson plan by Gwenn Seemel

Through this free high school art lesson plan, students will create images along the lines of the paintings in this series, communicating who they are and how they feel about the world through surreal self-portraiture.

Take a quick look at the lesson plan here or download the PDF.

free PDF

Everything’s Fine at the Princeton Public Library in New Jersey
photo by Gwenn Seemel

Everything’s Fine has been exhibited twice in New Jersey: at the Passaic County Arts Center in Hawthorne in May 2023 and at the Princeton Public Library in September 2023.

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