Artist Profile - Lara Antal
Presented by Lotic Stories Lab
Lotic Stories Lab believes in the power of story in all its beautiful forms and traditions. As part of that mission, we've engaged a series of artists to interpret the experience of living with mental health conditions and chronic illness for our Visual Moments series. For each installment of Visual Moments, we will ask an individual artist to respond to a prompt...with no other restrictions. Our first artist is Lara Antal.
The Prompt: Visualize the holistic concept of mental health.
And Lara's response....Mental Health Layers
Lotic Stories Lab asked Lara about her process in creating this image.
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 of Visual Health Layers?
Every time I'm handed a prompt, I spend a lot of time pre-visualizing; I research written and visual information about the subject. Sometimes I try to make a list of the words related to the topic or mood and see if, by pairing them together in unexpected ways, I can conjure up interesting imagery. I use sites like Pinterest to see if other artists have tackled this subject before and what their approach was. I also use sites like that to find interesting color palettes.
Then I sketch out as many ideas as I need to. Sometimes the first sketch was the best, but it's better to stretch the concept as far as you can go before deciding on one approach. I often present multiple options to the client as well."
Lotic Stories Lab: What role do you think storytelling and creativity can play when it comes to mental health?
Mental health is deeply intrinsic to an individual's perspective. Creativity helps people explore their feelings in a generative, not destructive way. Storytelling is the perfect vehicle for expressing the complexity and flavor of their experiences because it's a medium we ALL understand. It predates the written word and is accessible to all people regardless of training, class, education, or culture. Approaches and symbology may differ, but the heart of storytelling is authentic communication. Authentic communication is the key to exploring and improving mental health.
Lara Antal is an artist who loves black humor, black coffee, and colorful characters. Her debut graphic novel, written by Rick Louis, is slated for publication by Abrams ComicArts in 2022. Her work appears in places like The Washington Post and The Skimm, and she's been featured in The Wall Street Journal, WNYC-NPR, Huffington Post and more. If you dine in NYC you might see one of her infamous Choking Victim posters. Hailing from Wisconsin, she currently resides in Brooklyn with her almost-toothless chihuahua, Chuck.