In the age of the internet, anyone can call themselves an artist. To say this is not an indictment, but rather praise for this stage of the human enterprise in which anyone who is brave enough to pick up a brush and share the outcome can rightfully consider themselves creative. This era has also opened market places for under-represented artists who otherwise would struggle to make their way into gallery spaces or who reject the institutions of art altogether.
Unfortunately, the world wide web has also allowed trolls to come climbing out from under their bridges to turn up their noses at anything they don’t like or understand with worn out “Well-I-could-do-that’s”.
Impactful art needn’t be highly technical and impossible to replicate. Sometimes the most impactful pieces are the ones that seem simple, but pack a huge emotional punch. Such is the work of internet artist Britchida and their Abstract Diagrams series.
“I’ve always visualized my experiences and ideas in color and shape, and have throughout my life sketched out abstract ideas as little diagrams. When I started painting I didn’t have much technical skill yet, but I found that I had what I needed to make some lines and some blobs of colors, and I started pairing those with my visual ideas,” Britchida said in an interview with Arts Help. “It’s helped me tremendously as just a personal endeavour, as well as a way to communicate with those around me.”
Their art explores mental health, gender and queer issues across a huge spectrum and every abstract human emotion in between. Not only do they explore a wide range of themes, but their works are also created from a wide range of mediums like giclee prints, watercolours, acrylics and gouache.
“I make art as a way to heal and offer back to my community some gifts for resilience,” Britchida said in an interview with Arts Help.
So often mental health issues can be overwhelming, the pain searing and the words to describe our own volatile confusion being slippery at best. It comes down to what Virginia Woolfe called “the poverty of the language”. Britchida’s works visually give a voice to the big human emotions and experiences, like grief or trauma, that we struggle to vocalise. Where pain breeds isolation, their art creates community. Where overwhelm breeds confusion, their art provides clarity.
Their watercolour and acrylic prints don’t shy away from the abstract nature of the topics that they’re tackling as they try to make the unexplainable concrete. What makes their work resonate is that they draw on the vague outlines of these experiences, keep the transcendent qualities and make them transparent and more manageable. Their work embodies the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal for Good Health and Well-Being and Gender Equality.
“That's what this art is for me, a way to fold the inexplicable and overwhelming into something we can carry with us,” they said.
It’s hard to deny that there is a real talent in being able to synthesise complexity so succinctly and being able to render the unspeakable so plainly and deeply.
Sharing anything online is vulnerable, more so for creatives. Britchida feels that social media has been a positive space and has helped them to grow their art:
“I make a lot of art and only share some of it online. Feeds are high paced and a good fit for art that hooks you in a second or two. Intending to share a piece online pushes me to make sure it’s interesting and clear immediately and has helped me to distill diagrams down, allow myself to say one thing at a time, and trust that there’s always space to expand on an idea in future pieces,” they said in the interview.
“Since social media feeds are so flash fast, it’s given me a reason to cultivate slower and deeper spaces to connect over art with others.”
“I'm turning my attention to the canvas and away from the compulsion to get something done, to see what's new, to work or scroll or take care of someone else,” they said about their process.
Britchida also runs Easy Does It, an online art making and Discord community that anyone can join to explore creation, creativity, the self, and making like-minded connections.
“The way I’ve learned to become a creative person with a resilient and flexible practice feels more precious to me than even my art itself. There are so many ways to make art that feel satisfying, personal, tactile, honest — no matter how much technical skill one does or doesn’t have. I am community taught and was able to learn in a way that felt good, led by curiosity, gradually over time,” Britchida said in the interview.
“Art has actually been a place for me to work through those pressures and find alternatives that I can bring into the rest of my life. As I spoke about my approach to making art I had more and more people ask about a learning community of some kind where they could foster a creative practice in a trauma-informed, person-first kind of space. In response to that, I created Easy Does It.”
Membership offers self-paced guided stories, photography and beautiful writing, described by Brit as “hybrid essay-instruction-photo gallery” and an “trauma informed creativity class”.
As a community-taught artist who was shaped in such spaces, they value providing others with the space to play and practice.
Brit began creating at 30-years-old in 2016, dabbling in a new hobby that “gives but doesn’t take,” quoting writer and artist Austin Kleon.
“I had come to the place where everything in my life was in service of survival, and my health was taking a sharp, multifaceted downturn,” they said. “I needed something soft, that was for me, that felt good, and that was flexible: something welcoming in sickness and in health, in grief and in inspiration, with 5 minutes or entire hours.”
To learn more or support Britchida's work you can visit their website to purchase their prints, stickers or other art works or support their patreon. Or you can subscribe for free to their Algorithm Free Art subscription where they share art and reflections!