Artist draws on experience to help AWARE

Artist draws on experience to help AWARE

Published on Thursday, 28 May 2015

Posted in News

An up and coming illustrator from Holywood, who has dealt with depression and anxiety since her teens, is auctioning her latest work to raise money for Aware. 

Organised by AWARE Support Group facilitator and event organiser, Aoife Kenny, this magical night that will have you singing along to those catchy classics. With performances that would put Lion King’s, Timon and Pumba to shame, it will be a night of fun and energetic performances all on behalf of AWARE and Link Music.

Emma Millar’s original ball point pen portrait is currently up for auction on eBay with all the proceeds from the sale going to our work to help people affected by depression.

The 25-year-old wants to raise awareness about mental health and help break down the stigma attached with mental illness by raising money for Aware, who provide education programmes and support services to people affected by depression across Northern Ireland.

“Mental health is still a major taboo in today’s society and it is not nearly as well understood as other areas of health,” said Emma, whose earliest memoires of art are doodling with her dad at the dinner table.

“As someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety since my early teens, I still find it disconcerting how awkward a lot of people get around the subject.

"I wanted to auction one of my drawings for Aware to get people talking about mental health and to help fight the stigma that surrounds it. It is not as scary as it sounds and it is nothing to be ashamed off. Some of us are just wired differently.”

Emma, whose piece is up for auction now until Saturday, May 30, says everyone can relate to portraits.

“I love drawing portraits because people fascinate me. Every single one of us are fundamentally exactly the same, but also so completely different. Everyone can relate to a portrait whether they are interested in art or not. We analyse and look at faces everyday, its human nature.

Emma, who has developed her ballpoint pen and ink style over the past 5 years, believes that art has the potential to act as a therapy for people affected by depression.

“It definitely helps me but everyone is different. What works for one person won’t necessarily have the same beneficial effect on another. It is about trial and error and finding what best suits your individual needs.”

And despite suffering from anxiety and depression Emma says she is learning to embrace her personality.

“When I’m in full swing and my drawing is going exactly how I envisioned it, then it is the best form of therapy as I forget about everything else. I still get that build up of excitement to show off what I’ve created, a bit like the way kids get when their masterpiece is hung on the family fridge!

“However, I am a perfectionist and my own worst critic. I still struggle with the “why bother? It will never be good enough/ it won’t make any difference/ you will be crushed if it fails so why risk it?” monster, but I am learning to embrace that side of my personality and use it as a tool to push myself out of my comfort zone.”

You can bid for Emma’s piece here: