Art can be great for your head, but it can also help to connect people through shared experiences. Chatting to her friends before painting them gave Seven a deeper understanding of some of the stigmas people sometimes face when talking about their mental health:
“I interviewed one of my exes and he spoke about how he never talked about his feelings as a kid. The project highlighted how important mental health charities are, because they give people somewhere to turn when they’re struggling. A lot of the people I spoke to found it difficult to talk and felt like they were working through things on their own.”
Seven wants to normalise talking about this stuff and knows the important role services like CALM’s play in helping people chat about what’s on their mind:
“It can feel really formal and daunting to seek help, but CALM normalises things."
"Without those services and the support, mental health sinks back into the corner again, but our mental wellbeing is serious and something a lot of people struggle with.”
Seven has synesthesia, a neurological trait which merges senses that aren’t normally connected. It means people might taste colours or visualise sounds. She struggled to make sense of her synesthesia growing up, but when Seven realised other people experienced it, she started using her senses to shape her art:
“Since I can remember, I’ve always visualised my feelings and when I was a child if I had a stomach ache, I would describe how it looked, not how it felt. I thought I was just weird, but when I discovered I had synesthesia it made sense. It made me appreciate it more. I love words and sentences and often when I hear someone say something, I try to paint how it would look.”