COVER STORY: Amy Braaf.

For our Mentality edition, Apeiron. collaborated with local artists and asked them to illustrate their feelings on mental health and illness; challenging stigmas, depicting the aspects that resonate the most with them or what they think is important in the conversation.

We chat to multi-medium artist and solo traveler, Amy Braaf, on the meaning behind her cover illustration and her personal mentality towards depression.

This artwork is a symbol of the weight that carrying a mental illness feels like…

While trying to balance the requirements needed to be active and interactive with our
surroundings we must simultaneously try not to build up our internal worries.

Art is what saved me from the darkest times in my life

Art fills the cracks that we need filled. There is a Japanese art using broken pottery called ‘Kintsugi’ which translates to mean “golden repair”. Kintsugi is the the practice of mending broken pottery with platinum, gold, or silver which as result leaves the piece more beautiful than before. I feel like art does the same to us- it fills the empty gaps within us with something far more beautiful. It turns our pain into something tangible until it has no power over us anymore.

I believe that the power of one’s mind is often underrated

Especially when dealing with anxiety and depression (or any other mental illness). Although life seems to comes to a halt and the ability to create and continue to be “awake” seems impossible at times, I feel that its important to take time to deal with the problems that seem to eat away at ourselves.

There is no shame in being selfish when one’s mind and body needs tending to

When we have a toothache we see a dentist, when we feel pain in our body we see a doctor. There is no reason why any other ailment shouldn’t be taken as seriously – especially when we’re dealing with pain in one’s mind.

When I first came to terms with my depression I didn’t have a platform to speak to about it

My escape was coming home after school and drawing with my earphones in until the nighttime came. Although it allowed me to find my passion for art at a young age it did alienate me from the ones I loved.

Because I could not articulate my feelings there was an internalized frustration that I grew to have within my self and discussing it helped me deal with it.

If you feel lost within your emotions and your pain…

Seek for help from loved ones. Speaking about your pain makes it less heavy on yourself and them.

If a loved one of yours is depressed, look out for signs

[Signs like] them alienating themselves and losing interest in things they previously enjoyed. Reach out to them and show them that they have a support system to fall back onto.

My favourite subjects to draw are the womxn I meet from all over the world

I define myself as a photographer, although I am a qualified filmmaker, but I also enjoy painting and incorporating all of these mediums with each-other to recreate moments and emotions. I received a design scholarship when I left high-school but declined it to study film production. My love for illustrating came back about 1 month ago when I decided to take my first break from photography in 4 years.

I have always been a huge fan of Eiko Ishioka

A Japanese art director and costume designer. I am also a huge fan of Renhang – his photography is what inspired me to use my own photographs as foundations for illustrations and many other art forms such as “moving pictures” (series of photos in loop to recreate emotions felt at particular times in ones life).

See more of Amy’s work here: Instagram / Website / Facebook