The Happiness Video Project by Zach Cooper: A Preview

Hi, I’m Zach and this is my project.

One day I decided I wanted to film a bunch of people being happy for me. Real, genuine smiles. Everyday you go on social media and see negativity in some sort of way so I kind’ve wanted to break the day to day negativity down with something extremely happy and positive. You also see people claiming life is about spending money and traveling to be happy, but I think you can find happiness right in your backyard.

The idea started with filming a few people but snowballed into filming over 40 different people all smiling and doing something they love to do. My project still needs more people so I’m hoping to finish the project in 2017 but need help, I just moved from Massachusetts to New York City and don’t really know anyone here. Thankfully ‘Dear Hope’ said they could help me by sharing this project, so reach out!

I don’t bite. Come say hi and check out some of my work! I love meeting new people and guarantee we can have some smiles.

Instagram: zachcoop

Portfolio: https://productionzsc.myportfolio.com/projects


Be on the lookout for Zach’s full project early next year back here on Dear Hope.

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.

PF

Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

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Quote of the Day: 10/27/16

A quote I came across today that reminded me of the beliefs we have here at Dear Hope.

“I think people that are driven to make art are coping with things – anxieties or what have you. You feel boiling rage or crushing depression without knowing why, eventually engaging in a lot of coping mechanisms you aren’t aware of. The difference between then and now is just awareness, knowing where it all comes from, what the dangers can be, being able to hopefully exert some control over everything so that I’m not obliviously self destructive or wasting my energy.”

-Greg Puciato of the Dillinger Escape Plan

Source

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Interview with the Artist: A Day Without Love’s “Solace”

Without the ability to find comfort in battle, you will never be able to win the war. I wrote this record so I could win the war.”

—-

Back in January, we talked to Brian Walker about his life’s journey, inevitably intertwining his times of both triumph and struggle. His willingness to be vulnerable, as is with anyone who submits a Coping piece, was extremely courageous and admirable.

One of the focal points of Brian’s life was, and is, music. The inspiration he’s gained from music over the years inspired him to become a musician himself. In his Coping piece, he mentioned how his band, A Day Without Love, came to be.

Now, nearly nine months later, ADWL has freshly released Solace, a new album that speaks to many of the themes and experiences that Brian has thoroughly described to us. I had the pleasure of asking him some questions about the album, the processes of writing and recording, and the future of the band.

—-

1) What inspirations went into writing Solace? Are there recurring themes throughout the album that stick out to you?  

I was inspired to write Solace during a very dark time in my life as well as a very transitional time in my life. I had decided to write this full length after leaving SXSW and beginning to stop drinking. This record is kind of my way of trying to let out all of the vices in my mind. Sonically, I would say Kevin Devine has been a very large influence, as well as Alex G and Modest Mouse. Thematically, there are recurring themes around racism, depression, and alcoholism.

2) Bring us through the recording process. I noted that you took the photo for the album cover as well as writing the lyrics and music. How was the process for you? Was it different from previous recordings?

 Yes. My friend Brianna and I got out to a park with my friend Karaamat (the album art designer) and we took some photos in West Philadelphia. It was a pretty cool day. As far as writing the record, I wrote 60 songs in about a year, chose 15 to pursue, and then narrowed it down to the 13 songs that are on the album. The songs were written acoustically and then built up with me and my former band mate from there.

3) Are there any songs that you particularly like or are proud of? Any songs that were harder than others to put together?

For the exception of Persistence and Solace most of these songs stayed the same way that they were written. Cruel changed a few times before we set it down to recording, but most of the writing of these songs moved very smoothly and I think my favorite song on the album cannot be narrowed down to just one. All of the songs are so different, much like a reflection of so many things that have changed in my life. In terms of difficult songs, I think tracking Too Fast was pretty tough, especially the last riff. I guess you can say that was the most metal riff that I have done in my discography so far.

4) Do you have any plans to play the songs from Solace live? If so, where and when should we keep a look out?

Yes. I will be playing across the Northeast, South, and Midwest on 3 to 4 day tour stints while managing a job. You can view most of my show dates on the band website and subscribe to the Bandsintown link to see me play at a show near you. Also, I will be playing solo sets mostly, and doing a full band show at Ortliebs, a venue in Philadelphia.

5) I hear the emotion behind this music. You noted that much of the struggles you’ve faced (racism, mental health, death, etc.) went into the content of Solace.  How was turning your pain into an creative, artistic medium?

 I find the writing this record to be very reflective and, if anything, the most reflective piece of artwork I have ever done in my life. I have samples of my grandfather in here who died of lung cancer during the writing process. I kind of see the record as a way of reminding myself of who I was, who I am trying to be, and what I am today. I know there are many problems I highlight in the record, but the point of the record was not to discuss problems, but what I do with those problems, and how do I find ways to overcome the things I can not control.

6) You also highlighted that this was your first album sober; first of all, congratulations on that. I remember from your coping piece that this was a struggle for you, and I commend you on that. What emotions, difficulties, and triumphs came from creating Solace from a place of sobriety?

Initially, I felt like I lost my best friend by not writing under the influence of alcohol and drugs. But after giving that up I felt like I was discovering myself again, which is why I think this record sounds so different than my previous records. Creating music from a place of sobriety is not only freeing; it’s comfortable because you know that you are writing from a place of honesty, a place that is clear, a place that is not covered up by the drugs and alcohol I used to drown my body with. So writing songs sober is really tight.

7) What’s the next step for A Day Without Love? How are you feeling moving forward?

Currently I plan on touring as much as I financially can. I am on a major weight loss and self-discovery journey. I want to write a record on body positivity, and I am probably going to make this sonically more different than other records. In addition, I may release a lo-fi record soon.

8) If you had to pick a single message from Solace that encapsulated the album, what would it be? What does the album say more than anything to you?

No matter how much people hate you or you hate yourself, do your damn best to find peace and comfort in the war you are fighting. Without the ability to find comfort in battle, you will never be able to win the war. I wrote this record so I could win the war. In some ways, I believe I am not alone, so I want others to feel that they know they are not alone, and they can fight their battles together. Hopefully one day we can fight our battles together.

—-

You can become more familiar with A Day Without Love here, as well as giving Solace a listen, here. If you’re not familiar with Brian’s journey, check out his Coping piece from this past winter.

Remember-you are not alone,

and you are loved.

-DK

Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

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Liminal creatures: Lorca the Papergheist and Artistry Through Agoraphobia by Lorca Jolene

None of these collages are digitally created or enhanced.


I am a self-taught artist from Chicago who has been crafting chimerical and uncanny creatures from paper and ink for five years. My collages are deeply influenced by my own experiences, as a queer person with panic disorder and agoraphobia, of claiming and communicating in-betweenness in the context of health and labor.

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“Skinsmith”

Panic disorder – the bouts of paralyzing terror, the dissociation, the bone-deep exhaustion of perpetual unease – is a thing I carry around in my chest like a bullet. Living with it is like circumnavigating a spaceship through colonies of black holes inside yourself that will rip your memories and name apart… and hoping that the steering doesn’t fail. It makes “real” a feeling beyond my experience, and presents the decision everyday to invest effort and love into a world that feels as ephemeral and incomprehensible as dreams.

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“Goblin Market”

And the hardest thing about all that is pretending – around parents, colleagues, employers – that none of it is happening. Presenting to others as functional, approachable, and sociable is a constant process of alternating between different spaces in which my symptoms are more or less not permitted to exist. Years upon years of this practice has made me a creature most at home in liminal spaces and most at ease on social peripheries.

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“Lycanthrope”

A driving force between my art is the desire to create archetypes and mythos that explore liminality and ambivalence as powerful rather than defective or toxic. My collage characters are salvaged, scavenged, pieced together from a myriad of sources – their bodies literally cut nature and society at its joints and paste it back together. It is my hope that they might offer guidance and guardianship for whomever will make a binary – between psychosis and sanity, man and woman, health and deformation – their battleground.

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“Gemini”

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“November”


A special thanks to Lorca for submitting this wonderful work to us. Lorca has had work featured in RAW Artists Chicago’s recent showcase, a residency at Chicago’s Fulton Market Kitchen, ArtAscent Magazine, Chicago Literati magazine, the 365 Days 365 Artists Project.

These images are incredibly thought provoking and moving, and I hope you’ll leave a comment below about what you think.

You can find more work on Lorca’s Tumblr, Etsy Store, and Instagram.

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.

PF


Check out some more art on some of our other pages.

Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

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Music Submission: “Letting Go” by Greg Best

I wrote this song after my first therapy session in November 2013. I was struggling with severe depression and surviving the devastating pain of loss due to suicide. As my tears flowed out, so did this song. I realized that I couldn’t blame anyone for causing me the pain and that I must continue to work through it if I wanted to heal. I can’t change the past but I can make healthy steps towards my own future. Though I don’t always want to face the reality of pain and fear, I know I must honor the memory of those I’ve lost by healing and helping others heal.

No one is to blame for this pain
And I am responsible for my healing
None of us will lose in this game
Just sit and watch us fight till we all win
These memories won’t erase
They can’t change
But still I’m holding on to this faith
I trust you with my heart and I know
This is the hardest part
Letting go
Although this is the hardest part
Your name is written on my heart
Although this is the hardest part
Your name is written on my heart
Although this is the hardest part

Your name is written on my heart


You can follow Greg for more music and insight on Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Facebook.
Always remember you are not alone.
You are loved.
PF

Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

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A Selection of Poems and Art After Losing My Daughter: Peter Bruun of The New Day Campaign

Below are a selection of poems I’ve written since my daughter, Elisif Janis Bruun, died at age 24 of a heroin overdose on February 11, 2014. The drawings I include to accompany each poem I made recently, and to my mind invoke something of the spirit of the poetry.

Ravaged

Her body
has changed
from wire to round to wire
ravaged
from wild cat life
one unmeasured impulse
and the next
spinning spinning spinning
night through day through night
madness and madness and madness again
her body
has changed
from itself to something else and back again
only now
a softly subtle wilting
to eyes
that love her
wanting her well.

FullSizeRender-2

Boys and Girls

The boy
In the beater
Gold-rimmed mouth
Nacho-chip-orange fingers
Lost eyes
Like a flick of a Bic
Ready to ignite
For another cig.

The girl
Pink thong strap
Above the fringe
Of black spandex pants
So easily pulled down
For a buck
And a fix
Teddy bear on the headboard.

In fluorescent corners
Boys and girls
Change hands
Prey and predator
One and the same
Nobody wins
This dance
Without music
Without chairs.

The Walmart goldfish
Still alive
By the framed photo
Of her son
On Santa’s lap
Wanting something else
Anything else.

FullSizeRender-3

Mercy*

Pleasure
is not what holds me
in your room
life smeared across the floor.

You are
rage and raw
pure love and hot pain
a tender contradiction
neck-high in crap
redemption
against my loss and shame.

I am
no less mess than you
wondering what it is to be a man
worth the ground my little feet displace.

You and me
holding pawed hands
as best we can
mercy with every breath.

FullSizeRender (1)

*This is an excerpt from a longer poem


 

Peter Bruun is an artist, curator, and founder of the New Day Campaign, an initiative using art programming and public engagement to challenge stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and addiction, making the world a more healing place. Learn more by visiting his website at http://www.bruunstudios.com/.

I had the pleasure of meeting Peter at Mental Health America’s 2016 conference this past June. He is not only an extremely talented and compassionate individual, but one of the friendliest people I have ever met. Please check out his amazing artwork and his nonprofit work with The New Day Campaign. It’s good to know how much good there is in the world.

Leave Peter a comment below and always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.

PF

Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

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Art Showcase: “Tension” – A Beautiful Discomfort by Corey Marsh

I recently spent a night talking with artist Corey Marsh about his art series entitled “Tension”. The work is simultaneously beautiful and discomforting. Later this week I’ll have a full interview posted with him, but for now enjoy these pictures and a look into the process behind them. Here’s what Marsh had to say.

My latest work has been very much focused on the body, with surreal forms composed of contorted and mashed up hands and other body parts. These are an exploration into my mental health and my emotional state of mind.

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“Hand”

I’ve recently gone through this period in my life where everything came crashing down in a tragically terrible manner. I felt these weird, overwhelming feelings that I’m not sure I know how to accurately describe with words. It was this discomfort and tension that seemed to radiate throughout my entire body. Sort of like that feeling of pins and needles when your leg is asleep – or that itch you can’t scratch because for some reason it’s the inside of your leg that itches. But instead of an itch or a pin poking at me, it was this internal feeling of being pulled this way and that way all at once, like my inner organs and flesh were being tied up in massive uncomfortable knots at the pit of my stomach and in the center of my brain.

It was terrible and the worst part was I couldn’t even accurately describe the feeling. I feel like even now, talking about it, I’m not truly capturing it. So I turned to my art to express it.

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“Backache”

These feelings of unease and distress became so much clearer to me through this new series of work. In my photos, I captured my own body in bizarre poses in the lighting studio back at school, usually tugging at my skin on my back or on my face, creating physical and viewable tension. Then, through photoshop, I layered and collaged these images to create surreal forms and masses that through their bizarre nature of walking the line between believable and unreal added to their discomfort.

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“Flesh”

This new work of mine is a new means of exploring my mental health through my own physical body. In it, I portray what can’t be seen, my state of mind, as if it were just another physical appendage that could use tending to. Too often mental health takes a backseat to physical health. In this series, the two become one.

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“Pulling”

Find all the images from the Tension showcase in the slideshow below. To check out more of Corey’s work find his online gallery here. Be sure to keep up with him on Twitter and Instagram as well.

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.

PF

Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

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