Arts

18 positive affirmations through drawings and quotes to keep you levelled up

During this period of social isolation, these artists are evoking the feeling of togetherness we could all use right now.

These artists are evoking the feeling of togetherness we could all use right now

"Treat yourself nicely while you #stayathome." (Aneta Pacholska)

The last couple of weeks have truly been an emotional rollercoaster. It has been challenging to focus on anything but COVID-19 and the uncertainty that surrounds the current situation. But one thing that does remain constant is the ability for art to be therapeutic and uplifting. 

More than ever, we're seeing art communities come together in solitude — sharing resources, challenges to get those creative juices flowing, and virtual performances to keep us connected. 

With all that being said, some days can be tougher than others. We all need some words of encouragement to help us through these trying times. If you're feeling like you need some extra motivation, we have just the source: these Canadian artists who are sharing positive affirmations. During this period of social isolation, these artists are evoking the feeling of togetherness we could all use right now.

Roza Nozari (@yallaroza)

Why do you create the kind of art you do?

I create affirmation art because I believe that it holds profound power in transforming narratives around mental health, healing and wellness. Artists like Hana Shafi, Ashley Lukashevsky and Self Care Recipe taught us this magic: that in drawing folks of colour, queer and trans folks, folks with disabilities (and many others), we could create space in the digital sphere (and beyond) for narratives of healing — narratives that honour the experiences and great wisdom of marginalized folks. 

What motivates you to create?

I am motivated by community and by knowing that my struggle and my journey of healing is so often a shared one. That I, alone, am not experiencing the impacts of racism, of capitalism, of homophobia, of Islamophobia — of all the systems that taught brown Muslim queer folks like me that we are not enough and would never be enough. I know that when we marginalized folks share our stories, we create more models of possibility for our communities, more roadmaps to healing, more narratives that tell us that we are enough and that we've always been enough.

Hana Shafi (@frizzkidart

Why do you create the kind of art you do?

For the affirmation art series in particular, I think it's important for us to have content that uplifts you but at the same time doesn't shame you for feeling sad or not being able to see the bright side. Sometimes we can't see the bright side and that's OK, and uplifting content should be work that affirms people as they are and validates their feelings. 

What motivates you to create?

There's a quote from Toni Cade Bambara: "The role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible." Lately, this has become a huge motivator for me to create. But aside from that, I'm motivated to create simply because I don't know any other way to live; drawing is familiar, comforting, and natural to me.

Amy Wetton (@wildcanarystudio)

Why do you create the kind of art you do? 

I want to add a little brightness and joy to people's lives. It makes me feel good to know my art makes people smile. 

What motivates you to create?

Connection. I love putting my art out there and connecting with people. It keeps me going knowing my art may speak to, inspire or just make someone feel happy!

Jieun June Kim (@junekima.rt

 

Why do you create the kind of art you do?

I've always enjoyed drawings. It was very natural for me to be an artist and use my creative language to communicate with people.

Recently I started a 30-day tiger drawing challenge on my Instagram. One of my favorite Korean symbols or folklore characters is Horangi, the tiger. Tiger is in the symbolic role of protector, guarding against the three disasters (fire, flood, and wind) and the three agonies (war, famine, and pestilence). I think Tiger is a perfect subject to draw at this difficult time.

What motivates you to create?

A lot of my inspiration comes from the various symbolisms and motifs from Korean folk art. My most recent interest is the ongoing mythology of the Ship-Jang Saeng (Ten Traditional Symbols of Longevity), the ten creatures and objects that live in the border of wilderness and metropolis. The Ship-Jang Saeng exists in harmony with the natural world, but there is always a tension between them and the asphalt jungle.

Mateusz Napieralski (@gust_of_wind_studio)

Why do you create the kind of art you do? 

I like to think of my work as a visual expression of inner joy, happiness, playfulness, and hope for myself and others. Some days those feelings are a little harder to access than others, but I find creating to be a great vehicle to unearth those treasures within.

What motivates you to create?

I'm motivated by an inner calling that I can't quite explain. I was always drawn to create with my hands as a kid. As I'm navigating a career as an illustrator, I'm discovering more layers that motivate me now. Currently I'm motivated to create pieces that can help others, make a difference, bring communities together, or promote messages that I feel personally connected to.  

Ambivalently Yours (@ambivalentlyyours)

 

Why do you create the kind of art you do?

I've always loved drawing, ever since I was a kid. In kindergarten I would get in trouble for spending too much time in the art and crafts corner instead of playing with the other kids. I think my teacher thought I was being anti-social, but I've just always found it easier to express myself through drawing than through verbal language.

What motivates you to create?

Art is how I work things out. Drawing is the place where I put the vulnerabilities I'm not ready to confront. I try to draw the emotions that are hard to describe with words, or that don't have a name. People online often share their emotions with me, so as much as I can I try to draw their feelings too. The process of drawing for others always makes me feel a little less alone.

Victoria Cubbon (@victoria_cubbon)

Why do you create the kind of art you do?

I create because I think it's important to inspire equality, self-love, and positivity through art. I create inspiring and uplifting art with messages that make me feel good with the intention of helping others feel good too!

What motivates you to create?

Human kindness, nature, and the drive to express myself motivate me to create. Like every artist, I occasionally experience a lack of motivation; in those times, I think it's best to make something anyway to get the creative juices flowing.

Natalie Dormady (@littlearthlings)

Why do you create the art you do?

I create doodles and gentle reminders with the hopes that it can bring some light, joy, and maybe a little bit of comfort to other people's days. I hope it can remind them that they're not alone. 

What motivates you to create?

One of the very first doodles with a gentle reminder that I shared on Instagram, someone sent me a message saying, "Thank you, I really needed this today." It's stuck with me for the past three years that I've been creating doodles and sharing them online. I just hope they're able to help others.

Chelsea Lea (@iamletired)

Why do you create the kind of art you do?

Creating art has always been a hands-on creative outlet for me and, in a way, an extension of myself and the world I see. I love to create positive and colourful pieces that are influenced by personal experience, observations, humour, and current times. I find it most satisfying and heartwarming when my art resonates with others.

What motivates you to create?

The motivation is two-fold. The first part is that the simple act of creating is so fulfilling to me – when I can put all my focus into it, it becomes cathartic. The second piece is the sharing aspect; there is really nothing better than when you see a positive response from others or hear that your work has made someone's day!

Megan Davis (@kindredxhellbound)

Why do you create the kind of art you do?

I started a different illustration/enamel pin business a few years ago where I really tried to "do it all." I was all over the place and couldn't see myself in any of my art. I completely scrapped it and took a few months to really dig deep into what I wanted my art to be, how I wanted people to feel when they saw it, and what I wanted to use my platform to say. I landed on Kindred and Hellbound as a place to talk about the positive with the negative and finding a good rhythm between the two. 

What motivates you to create?

Seeing the way people have been relating to and experiencing my art has been really, really cool this time around. I try really hard to be introspective and create what I feel. Witnessing other people connect to that has created such a warm sense of community. The energy I get from that and then, in turn, can give through my art, keeps me movin'.

Nina Ramos (@niinaaramos)

Why do you create the kind of art you do?  

My main audience is women and with my art I want to share positive messages; I want to encourage them to love themselves. I use my art to express myself and help other women to express themselves too and feel that they are not alone. I believe I inspire many women and it gives me that feeling of accomplishment.

What motivates you to create?  

One of the things that motivates me to create is to know that someone is inspired by me — to know that I can reach someone positively with a simple drawing that I do.

Anne Carly (@annecarly.mm)

Why do you create the kind of art you do?

I create my art to heal my childhood emotional neglect wound. It breaks my heart when people, especially children, are told to not feel their hard feelings; I create my art for them too.

What motivates you to create?

My inner child is my greatest motivation. She didn't have a voice growing up, so I honour her now through my art and writings.

Aysha Natsheh (@ayshadrawsthings)

Why do you create the kind of art you do?

I love to draw and I also love words, so my art is a combination of the two. My art is very personal and, before anything else, continues to be a way for me to work through and understand my feelings. I create to express myself and to heal.

What motivates you to create?

My art is always motivated by the things that are on my heart, whether that's a feeling, an affirmation, or a reminder I need that day. Now that I am beginning to grow an online community, I continue to be motivated by how many people resonate with what I am sharing.

Natalie Very B. (@natalieveryb

Why do you create the kind of art you do?

It took me years to figure out what I really wanted to say through my art, and last year I think I finally found it. My art helps people heal and accept themselves for the beautiful creatures that they are. I strive to free us all of preconceived notions of "perfection" and allow self-love and body positivity to thrive.

What motivates you to create?

I get really inspired by nature — when I walk in the forest surrounded by nothing but the sound of crackling twigs under my feet, falling leaves, and singing birds. Going back to the roots is what makes me tick. I also enjoy reading about and reviving lost traditions from Slavic folklore.

Charisse de Leon (@pixelpaperhearts)

Why do you create the kind of art you do?

As cliché as it sounds, I create because it makes me happy. And in creating, I hope I can bring some happiness to someone else too. There is nothing like the feeling of showcasing your work at an event like a handmade market or pop-up and having humans laugh out loud in the flesh. It's kind of my favourite and it fills my heart.

What motivates you to create?

This one is tough! A clean office space? Haha. I believe that I'm motivated by the response of my community. When I take a chance and put out content that is either vulnerable or non-traditional and it's actually relatable, that motivates me to create more. There is so much power in [placing] community over competition.

Stephanie Chinn (@stephaniechinnart)

Why do you create the kind of art you do? 

To connect with myself and remind myself of the deep important truths that we forget in our everyday lives. I aim to break up perfectly curated Instagram feeds and bring truth to people.

What motivates you to create?  

It really just boils down to me wanting to reach other people's hearts and minds. That is all the motivation I really need.

Aneta Pacholska (@anetapacholska)

Why do you create the kind of art you do?

Because I love connecting with people and making art that they can relate to. My most common theme is anything normally considered mundane. I think ordinary moments are interesting because everyone can relate to them, so I like to magnify them in colourful (and sometimes humorous) ways. 

What motivates you to create?

My love and passion for drawing. 

Effie Theodosiou (@lzysunday)

Why do you create the kind of art you do?

I want to create art that inspires and makes people feel cozy and calm.

What motivates you to create?

Every time I see amazing interior design, it really inspires me to create art. I want to make art prints that would complement these beautiful rooms.

These interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.

CBC Arts understands that this is an incredibly difficult time for artists and arts organizations across this country. We will do our best to provide valuable information, share inspiring stories of communities rising up and make us all feel as (virtually) connected as possible as we get through this together. If there's something you think we should be talking about, let us know by emailing us at cbcarts@cbc.ca. See more of our COVID-related coverage here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kiah Welsh is a digital video producer at CBC Arts. She loves to travel and owns over a hundred pairs of sneakers.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

now