Industry Artist Charlie Gavin Opens Up About Mental Health And Work
Gavin began posting autobiographical comics to Instagram (@charliepgavin_art) earlier than the pandemic, however in current months he has stepped up his exercise, coming to deal with his psychological well being and the way it pertains to his work. Every comedian focuses on a special situation, be it time administration, the strain to keep up a social media presence, or the anxiousness of seeing colleagues advance shortly of their careers.
As a part of a brand new sequence of articles about psychological well being and animation, we spoke to Gavin about these comics: why he creates them, how individuals react, and what he’d prefer to see change within the trade …
Cartoon Brew: Why did you begin posting about your experiences on social media?
Charlie Gavin: I initially began making autobiographical comics after attending Comedian Arts LA in 2019 and being impressed by the comics and zines my friends have been making. It was solely after posting comics for a 12 months or two that I started to residence in on speaking in regards to the struggles of working within the animation trade, particularly as they relate to psychological well being. I’ve had a rocky street of restoration after getting sober in 2019, and it felt disingenuous to not speak about that and the way it impacts my relationship with animation.
I’m additionally tremendous impressed by comics like Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half — the best way she speaks about her personal psychological well being issues in a manner that’s relatable and humorous is wonderful (not that I’m evaluating myself to her as a result of her work is on one other stage).
So what I attempt to do with my comics is create a stability between speaking about my experiences as a storyboard artist within the trendy animation trade and my struggles as a human being with points, in a manner that’s hopefully relatable to different individuals. As a result of if there’s one factor I’ve discovered, it’s that I’m not the one neurotic mess working in animation, haha.
How do you resolve which points to cowl in your posts?
I’m actually fairly impulsive about it. Plenty of the time I’ll go for walks at evening to clear my head and simply be stewing about some state of affairs that comes up on a manufacturing, or be simply type of ruminating in regards to the many expectations positioned on storyboard artists, and understand, “Oh hey, I might make a comic book about this.”
I’m truly all the time apprehensive I’m going to repeat myself or the stuff I’m saying will not be very insightful or relevant to different individuals. I can actually solely converse to my very own experiences, and I attempt to not simply broadcast statements that I do know are going to be in style for consideration. I additionally perceive that I’m a cis male, and different extra marginalized animators might have a totally completely different expertise within the trade.
If something, I hope any points about working in animation I deliver up would possibly set off another person to speak about their experiences. For instance, I really like the IATSE Tales Instagram account that shares a number of the horrible points individuals on live-action exhibits are coping with. Fortunately I haven’t handled any issues close to that magnitude, however seeing extra people working in leisure really feel snug and empowered to share their tales solely looks like it may be factor!
What sorts of response have you ever acquired? Have any shocked you?
I’ve been fairly shocked at how a lot individuals do appear to narrate to a number of the issues I’ve posted! I don’t have an enormous following, but it surely’s extraordinarily validating and satisfying when individuals go away feedback saying my work is resonating with them.
Generally I get actually considerate messages and DMs from individuals, and it all the time makes my day to know one thing I made related to somebody. Then again, generally I’ll submit one thing and get individuals armchair-diagnosing me with ADHD or another psychological sickness, and telling me I’m being irresponsible for glorifying sure dangerous work habits by even speaking about them. It’s like, wow, I by no means realized I had so many medical doctors following me!
I child, however truly I’m all the time amused by the vary of reactions I get and take a look at to not take any of this too critically. The optimistic reactions appear to outweigh the adverse ones, and at the very least the adverse reactions are generally humorous.
In your expertise, how widespread is it for artists to be inspired to speak about these points within the office?
Plenty of any such dialogue occurs between animation workers, but it surely’s normally when the workplace doorways are closed or in hushed tones in your cubicle. It frustrates me to see the best way “new media” exhibits are normalizing tighter budgets and shorter schedules. Generally it feels taboo to even acknowledge it’s occurring.
However with the best way our counterparts in our sister unions are making themselves heard currently, I really feel hopeful a few of these points could be addressed. Streaming will not be new media anymore, it’s simply the brand new regular. So we’ll see what occurs.
In a common manner, the pandemic has led society to grapple with a few of these issues, like burnout and melancholy, extra brazenly. If Covid precipitated one lasting change in working circumstances within the animation trade, what would you need it to be?
I hope work-at-home continues as an choice. Proper now, I’m beginning my first directing gig, and I take pleasure in having the ability to have the safety of my very own private cave as I determine issues out, ha. Then again, I’ve a whole lot of buddies who actually miss the camaraderie and construction of working within the workplace, and I fully perceive that having a separation between work and house is vital for lots of people.
However personally, I benefit from the flexibility of having the ability to work remotely. I additionally discover myself much less productive once I really feel like I’m on show (which is the way it can generally really feel working in-office). The pandemic has precipitated the whole lot in my life to slim to the purpose the place work is the primary factor I take into consideration, and that’s sort of shitty.
I don’t know if this is smart, however I type of hope this unusual new world caused by the pandemic does trigger individuals to reassess their priorities in life. Though animation is — for lots of us — our ardour along with a profession, we have to collectively resolve what’s wholesome for us as people, and discover a method to make taking accountability for sustaining our psychological well being an actual precedence.