Our Silent Partner
Two months into the global pandemic that was hitting the creative industry hard, and on the brink of a civil rights movement that was bringing our industry face to face with our own systemic racism, there was a mental health crisis brewing. THere was also silence coming from the top of the ranks who are historically quiet when it comes to addressing mental health within the ad world.
In May (Mental Health Month), two cds and a small but mighty team of creatives concepted and launched Our Silent Partner, an anonymous, crowd-sourced creative portfolio that expresses what it’s like to live and work as a creative with mental health challenges. And we started a much-needed conversation around mental health in our industry.
awards: Silver at the Side Show Awards, Social Good
CDs: Laurel Stark & Victoria Roselli
Artist & partner: Geoff Kim
Our Piece: Awareness attacks
In our initial brainstorm, both of us said to each other: we don’t have mental issues. Which lead us to our cultural misgivings about mental health — one of us is Korean and the other Persian. Both cultures lack awareness and include bias against people with mental health issues. Meaning, both of us lack the awareness and ability to acknowledge our own mental health. So much so that our anxiety and stress hurts us physically at times. Which is what we aimed to show in this piece. This never-ending push to keep going. Why? Because of fear. For us, we were indoctrinated with the fear of failing our parents. And that fear was constantly reinforced for us as young adults who choose careers that were deemed culturally inappropriate and tied to generational stigmas.
What you see in this piece are the internal layers of stress that plague us constantly. Projects, deadlines, career trajectory. It all builds into a melange of anxiety. The words you see hold everything together externally for us. They represent the never-ending, spiraling thoughts that actually help us keep running from acknowledging our stress. Tallying up, “this many days, this many steps to my door, just one beer, one more week. Then I can come up for air. It will all be fine. I’ll be fine.