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Can Art combat depression and anxiety? Weekly Guest Post by Jacob Daley

According to Beyond Blue , depression and anxiety is a crippling disease that affects over 2 million people in Australia alone.

“It’s estimated that 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. 1 In any one year, around 1 million Australian adults have depression, and over 2 million have anxiety.”

If this disease is so wide spread in Australia alone, can it be combatted with something as simple as art? American artist, Jacob Daley is a living example of how anxiety can be overcome with art. We are lucky enough to explore his personal journey to combating his anxiety through art and also explore an interesting artform called stippling. Without further ‘delay’, here is Jacob’s story…

Unlike anything else in the world, Art is equally healing for both the consumer and the creator. Whether intentional, or coincidence, we bring about change, joy, and understanding to the world. Being a part of that is the driving force in why I work, continuously, at being a creator / artist. My name is Jacob Daley and I am an artist.

I create as a means to combat chronic anxiety and depression. With my process of stippling I am able to find a safe place in which I can work through what brings about these – sometimes debilitating – feelings. The repetitive, methodical, nature of stippling creates an almost meditative state that eases the mind. Despite the cliché, I would be remise to not say that stippling, and by extension art, saved my life. The journey to this point was filled with doubt, frustration, destructive comparisons, and focusing on aspects of creating that turned the entire process into something that felt like work, rather than something to bring joy. From the earliest memory I loved creating, in whatever form I could get my hands on, but never entertained it or pushed myself because of the toxic behavior of putting my work next to others and deeming mine: less..

Through continuous encouragement from educators I began to change that and soon developed enough confidence to believe in what I was creating as: worthy. The method of stippling did not come to me until going to university. My lack of motivation for creating also was in direct correlation with a severe ocular impairment that has its own set of hurdles. Ocular Albinism is a ocular disorder that is one of few genetic disorders that cannot be fully fixed with glasses, contacts, or minor surgery. This has made it very difficult to pick up on detail, even from close distance, an intense sensitivity to light, quicker ocular exhaustion, and occasional form distortion. All of aided in obliterating any desire I had to become an artist. But I refused to take no as an answer. What is stippling? Stippling first came about freshman year of university while working I.T. over winter break, where I would create large scale illustrations on classroom whiteboards. It soon became a fascination for me that I brought back to my art classes at Virginia Commonwealth University School of The Arts; where I would later earn a Bachelors in Fine Arts, majoring in Communication Arts (illustration). But the time at school just as quickly made me,

Incorrectly, focus on the wrong parts of what it means to create: Time, Turnaround, and Profit. I beg of you, while these are important to consider, they should NOT be what dictates your creating/creations. It was not until 20119, 8 years later, that I returned to “traditonal” art and stippling. During those 8 years I faced a common dilemma that many artists face – Yes, creating fills the heart, but how can I survive financially? In 2019, with wise words from a therapist and my fiancé, I gave into the constant pull and have been spending every day since stippling. The stippling process I have developed takes its influences from the methods of Maxfield Parrish, Suerat, Van Gogh, and more broadly; the process used for high-quality printing and screen-printing.

My pieces are created using only four colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (more commonly known as CMYK). Each of the four colors gets its own “layer” consisting of different values; the lighter values mean a smaller number of dots in a loose frequency in that area and more dots in a tight frequency for the darker areas. The layering of the dots allows the creation of the entire spectrum using a phenomenon known as “color vibrating” wherein, from a distance, the two colors will vibrate together creating an entirely different color. • Example – If you wanted to create a medium orange you would use mostly yellow dots with a very tight frequency and then layer the magenta at a much looser frequency, thus when the viewer steps back their eyes will ignore the individual dots and vibrate them all together to create the desired hue. See examples below. I gravitate(d) to this process because it helps to create a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of color, value, and hue. It also draws people in so they are more tempted to take a moment to investigate the pieces construction, thus teaching them a little about the mysterious world of color as they are able to see the “raw parts” of how each color is made. One key point that I try to remember when life seems too much, or the anxiety and depression comes back, stems directly from this process: Our problems, our negative thoughts, our physical existence, is just one or two in a vast sea of many others that ultimately make a much bigger, often beautiful, picture. Ultimately my journey leads me to these key points that may expedite your journey: • If you have it; Listen to the call to create. It’s there for a reason. • Money and income are important, but if you work hard enough at something and truly believe in yourself, the money will show up eventually. • Don’t give up because others are better than you. • Enjoy the process and journey, don’t focus on the end product. • Don’t give up because there is some, seemingly undefeatable, hurdle. • Before anyone else, create for yourself. • Know your worth. • Every style and process have their own set of difficulties, if you find one you really love; stick with it! Over time you will navigate those difficulties and be an expert. And finally, don’t you dare forget that being an artist and owning who you are is the bravest thing you can do. To see more about my process, how pieces come together, and to talk more you can visit my TikTok @daleydots Facebook @DaleyDots Instagram @daley.dots. To see more portfolio and learn more about me and my process you can visit my website Proceeds from all pet portrait commissions are donated to a local animal shelter. Proceeds from all human portrait, and woodburned portrait, commissions are donated to Artist Relief Fund. Commissions available by just reaching out via any of the methods above, by email – , or by visiting the commission form on my website. Take a moment • Take a deep breath • Take on the world

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