Artist Profile - Max Wilkins
Presented by Lotic Stories Lab
We imagine a future where better health results from more personalized health tools and resources that empower people to be active and engaged in their self-managed care. In this installment of our Visual Moments series, which engages artists with written prompts related to mental health and chronic conditions, Lotic Stories Lab once again worked with Max Wilkins. Max’s Wisdom Engine comic received fantastic responses on both the Stories Lab page and our Instagram. For Visual Moments, we provided Max with two prompts, the first of which is here.
The Prompt: Visualize a living network of personal data that a person needs to care for and see grow.
And Max’s response....Living Data Network
Lotic Stories Lab talked to Max about his approach to this piece.
Lotic Stories Lab: Could you talk about how you addressed the prompt you were given? What was your first thought? How much changed from the initial impulse to this final version?
For the "Bonsai Tree" illustration, I was immediately interested in the prompt of representing data as a living entity that was being cared for and cultivated. After a bit of pondering, the idea of a bonsai tree that somehow represented this data came to my mind. I have a personal interest in bonsai, and I try to include personal interests in my illustrations whenever possible as I feel that my enthusiasm for the subject matter will always be evident in the final product. I came to the idea of using 1's and 0's (binary code) for the leaves, and I thought that this captured the essence of the prompt nicely. From there, I designed a character and background and added finishing touches like the glow coming from the tree to draw the eye into this part of the composition.
Lotic Stories Lab: What role do you think storytelling and creativity can play when it comes to mental health?
As someone who has suffered from depression for most of my adult life, I think it's really important to hear other people's stories who have gotten through what you are experiencing in the present moment. It gives you hope and makes you feel less alone. Creativity is an important outlet for me as a way to express myself and pull myself out of negative mindsets.
Max Wilkins is an illustrator living and working in Rochester, New York. He has a background in architectural design. His interest in architecture reveals itself “through the exciting imaginary worlds I create in my illustrations.”
More of Max’s work and interview is forthcoming in our Visual Moments series. In the meantime, to see more of Max’s otherworldly work, visit his website or Instagram @max_wilkins_illustration