✥ Project: Vancouver Mural Festival
✥ Location: 2286 Ontario St, Vancouver, Canada
✥ Date: Aug 2020
Intervening public space during a particular time such as 2020, seemed like a good fit to talk about emotional health. This piece invites us to find balance in between the turmoil of emotions, exploring inside our minds to recognize what is happening.
Ignoring our uncomfortable feelings won’t make them disappear. I put them in this small ball of darkness and embraced it. This loving gesture is guided by the other side of the spectrum, a cloud of light floating above the head, and two rainbows acting as ears, listening carefully to what emotions tell us.
Framing the scene, a big rainbow in the front, and a dark shape in the back symbolize this same positive/negative duality, but on circumstances out of reach. Uncertainty will always keep on flowing. And yet, the expression on the face of the main character tells us it’s ok.
This “Micro Journal of Emotions” illustrates different emotional states and physical sensations, from positive and negative extremes, decreasing intensity until both forces are balanced. This ideal state of peace, is the scene represented in the mural.
But before and after getting a moment of peace, we usually go through wild emotional shifts. A good way to start dealing with this, is to check in how you’re doing. If you feel “good or bad” keep digging, learn specific concepts. On each page of this zine there are blank spaces to write. I gave this to people I met in the street, to use as inspiration and reminder of this exercise. But you can do it anytime anywhere! Next time you’re experiencing something, ask yourself what is it? Expand your emotional vocabulary. Feed your brain with information to help it respond in a more wise way.
Getting people to investigate their feelings was far-reaching. After finding the specific words, I asked everyone to share them back.
Some people told me in person, some wrote on an IG post I made specifically for this, and some send me direct messages. Each night after painting, I spend a good time reading all the messages and transcribing the words into this public document:
I invite you to read them, as each word will trigger your brain to experience that emotion for a millisecond. The more rare ones, or words from other languages (that have no english translation) are accompanied by definitions.
To celebrate and materialize this collective experience, I added all those words to the mural, making it not just mine, but ours. I sorted them alphabetically, so the “positive” and “negative” feelings are all mixed, providing a rich bird’s-eye view of our current situation as a community.
If you didn’t get the chance to participate with your own word, take a look anyway. You might find a similar one, and then you’ll know there are more people feeling like you do now. If you are not sure what is it that you’re experiencing, you can also take a look at the list, and see if something rings a bell. However you choose to explore your feelings, it’s going to be worthwhile.
More about this project