These candid drawings show the reality of dealing with depression. While far from a light topic, this digital artist seems to make light work of it. Would you believe us if we told you they were drawn with only a finger? 

Illustrator, poet, and author, Kirsty Latoya (@kirzart) developed a passion for digital art using her mobile phone while working in a call centre. From there, she has built quite the social media following, with 14.8K Instagram followers keen to come along on her artistic journey. The south London-based artist draws on her own personal experiences with mental health in her art, having first experienced depression at the age of thirteen. 

 
 
 
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Vowing never to draw again after the sudden death of her mother, it was with her friends encouragement that she began to use her work to process her emotions. Her first drawing after her mum died was a self-portrait of her crying, holding up a mask that was smiling.

From a young age, art was her passion. When Kirsty's household got their first computer she could spend hours drawing on Microsoft Paint. In 2014 she again started experimenting with drawing apps and programs and drawing with styluses, however she prefers the freedom of drawing with her finger. 

 
 
 
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 "The important themes I explore in my art are mental health and self-love. These are incredibly important for having a healthy state of mind. The message behind a lot of my artwork surrounding mental health is that 'You are not alone.' I want people to know that whatever they are struggling with, they're not the only ones.”

Latoya, who is Caribbean, acknowledges that skepticisms surrounding mental health in her culture initially held her back from acknowledging her depression. 

 
 
 
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"Sometimes people don't talk out about their own mental health struggles because they feel they're the only ones going through it. My art is a reminder that we're all human and go through battles but you can overcome them. I turned my pain into my passion and now art is my therapy."

 
 
 
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A post shared by Kirsty Latoya 🌹♥️ (@kirzart)

For many, mental health still holds a stigma, embarrassment or a lack of understanding. Latoya is working to break those barriers by using mental health as a central theme in her work both to discourage stigma and encourage open dialogue, particularly within the black community. 

 
 
 
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“I’ve had people saying the pictures made it easier to share their emotions and that made me proud because I only did this for me but when it’s doing something for them too, that’s great.”

Check out more of Kirsty Latoya's work on her website.

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