Blog / 2023 / Help Make a Coloring Book for Mental Health!
September 1, 2023
For a pledge of $55 you get two coloring books and enough stickers to share, and for $200 I’m offering a special edition poster of one of the seventeen Everything’s Fine paintings. To see all the rewards and help make this project happen, visit the Kickstarter page!
For those of you in the Princeton area, Everything’s Fine is currently on display at the library, and I’m doing an art class for teens at the end of the month!
Princeton Public Library
Princeton, NJ 08542
Open: now through October 15th
Hours: every day, visit PPL site for times
Hands-on art workshop for teens
Saturday September 30th from 3p to 4:30p
It starts with paintings. So many paintings about feelings. They are surreal artworks, mashing up imagery that, at first, doesn’t seem to go together. A marching band whose members are all cats? A rose lacking outward prickliness but with a thorny thought bubble? A bird that’s singing a strange version of itself? Each painting reveals an emotional truth without having to put a name to it.
The paintings took two years to create, because, well, life. But also because other images came easier—they didn’t demand so much vulnerability from me.
I called the series Everything’s Fine, because I know everything isn’t—and not just for me. With the ever-scarier threats of global warming as well as the daily trauma of white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and gun violence, I don’t want anyone to think they’re the only one struggling with anxiety or depression.
Now that the paintings are done and on display, it’s time for the next phase of this project, one that will hopefully bring this work to a much wider audience without the paintings being directly involved because I’m turning them into a coloring book!
“I kind of see this work as an opportunity for kids who might be intimidated by coming up with their own images. Those kids are often excluded from our art experiences in school. The fabulous thing about the concept of this coloring book is that students can engage in a really easy therapeutic way that they don’t have to beat themselves up about.”
Over the last decade, coloring books for kids of all ages—including adult kids—have become more and more popular as a way of relieving stress. Even the Mayo Clinic agrees that coloring can be good for your health!
The coloring book version of Everything’s Fine will provide a meditative way for people to engage with the work as they fill in the colors. And the book won’t just have line drawings of the paintings. It’ll include writing pages as well. Because each of the images in Everything’s Fine comes with guiding questions to ponder, like these ones for example.
In addition to the coloring book, I’ll be developing a high school level curriculum, meant for art teachers and facilitators at community groups, libraries, that sort of thing. The curriculum will cover the history of surrealism a little bit and then dig into how students can make their own images about how they’re feeling.
“To me what really stands out is the self-portraiture. The way that the ‘figure’ takes a lot of different forms. Including replacing your head with traffic lights, becoming an animal of some sort, becoming the little robot with the social media. It’s great tool to talk to students about how many forms self-portraiture can take in the age of selfies and filters. It can be hard for them to look at themselves in a mirror and to have that be the subject for an art assignment. And so to say: here’s so many ways you can express yourself. Here’s how you can change your figure. Don’t be afraid. Look at this artist!”
The curriculum will be available for free from my site, and your pledge makes sure that I get paid for the labor of developing the curriculum. The coloring book will eventually be for sale, but only Kickstarter supporters will get signed copies of the book, because I want to make sure that you understand how much your help means to me!
So much so, that I have decided to finish up this project right where it began: with so many paintings. Only this time I want to make them in collaboration with you. If you pledge $950 to help make this project happen, you can send me five words and I’ll send you back the painting that those words inspire in me. The words can be anything: adjectives, verbs, objects, colors, feelings. I can’t wait to see what we create together!
Of course, there are plenty of other pledge tiers as well. For $300 you can buy one of the original line drawings of one of the images from Everything’s Fine. It’s first come, first served, so make sure you pledge soon to get the image you want. The $40 level is for pre-ordering the coloring book, and it comes with your choice of four of these stickers.
“The power of art is also looking and taking it in, and letting it say things that can’t be said otherwise. And this particular group of paintings, it just really hits that very precisely. It’s got humor, it’s got grace, and it’s got a lot of depth to it.”
However much you pledge, please know that your contribution makes this vital work possible!
Maybe this post made you think of something you want to share with me? Or perhaps you have a question about my art? I’d love to hear from you!
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