From this week forward we’ll be putting a new well-being related post up onto the blog on a weekly basis. It will be a mix of voices including different Redbubble artists, people from other fields, people who work within Redbubble, and more often than not will include me.
So I thought that I would take this opportunity to let you know who I am, and why I’m here.
My name’s Matthew Dunn and I’ve been an artist on Redbubble since 2009. Last year I spent 6 months in the Redbubble Artist Residency where I focused on a comic project titled Salvation Is Free. After spending over 10 years working from a home studio it was genuinely inspiring to be working alongside so many amazing and creative people. The residency reminded me of the importance of community and connectivity. That experience, combined with my own history of managing (and sometimes mis-managing) my own mental health issues, led to me working with some of the great people at Redbubble to start developing an Artist Well-Being Initiative.
From the start I wanted to make sure that whatever we built wasn’t solely influenced and filtered via my own experiences. It was important that the foundations of the initiative strengthened by bringing in a diverse range of voices and experiences. During the initial few months of research I was able to interview a number of Redbubble artists who were incredibly honest and open in their conversations about the issues that artists face, how we all manage such things, and shared ideas on ways Redbubble could potentially help in that area.
I also started talking with different organisations who shared similar approaches to the ways in which the topic of well-being and health are addressed. You can read my interview with one of those groups, The Hi How Are You Project.
As things started to come together we started getting a clearer idea of the things we could achieve, and the time frames in which these things could potentially happen.
Then the COVID-19 virus kicked in hard and the conversation of what we could do to help support our artists became much louder and more urgent. The time-line changed around us and we knew we had to start sharing what we had and building what needed to be built.
We have a number of things being developed, and I look forward to sharing updates with you all when it’s possible to do so.
But for now we’ll be kicking off these weekly blogs, a space where we can all discuss various things that impact artists in the world. I believe the power of being part of an ongoing conversation can lead to new levels of understanding and change, so hopefully you’ll all feel safe to share your own thoughts and experiences throughout the comment sections of these posts going forward.
The world is in a strange place right now (yes, that’s very much an understatement, but there’s a reason I often express myself via visuals instead of words… says the man who is deep into one seriously rambling introduction… yikes!). Our reality is intense, uncertain, often terrifying, and frequently overwhelming. But it’s times like these that we need art the most, both the act of creating it and the joy of experiencing it.
Hopefully I’ll see you all here next week and we can continue the conversation.