As part of our Christmas holiday work we were asked to look at the live briefs that had been put forward by the ‘Creative Conscience’ organisation. They run a selection of artist live brief submissions every year and, as a way of pushing us to expose our work and to encourage our professional practice, we were asked to choose a brief and start doing a piece of work towards it – whether we felt like we wanted to actually enter into the competition.
For my brief, I chose to look at the men’s mental health section; going off the resent success of the ‘movember’ campaign for men’s health awareness, they’re after a new and different campaign, to hit a similar vein.
For my brief I started by creating a couple of basic characters, ‘Dave and his mate’; Dave has depression and his mate is trying to help him get help and get better as his mate. This is quite a simple concept but it’s one that I feel like I have the most experience with and can draw on most from my life.
Over Christmas I came up with the very basic concept and started to create a small narrative and a slightly large comic around the two – despite the fact that Dave’s mate still didn’t have a name; he is now called Steve. This was all still a very simple and unformed concept, but using this as a base and working with the idea I’m looking to continue the project to be submitted in April.
From the basis of the two mates relationship, I would like to explore a lot of larger issues that surround the concept of men’s mental health; stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, and the connection between all of these and the ‘playboy’, misogynistic, mind set – as studies have shown that this kinda of male bravado has a strong connection with mental health issues.
The advantage of starting with such a small and simple concept is that it opens itself up to much larger subjects and issues in an easily accessible way. Meaning that I can say something big using something small; I feel that this will make for a good social media campaign.
Since revisiting the brief after the break for our field I’ve had a lot of fun looking back into the characters of Dave and Steve; they were previously not very fleshed out figures and I’d not done a lot of development work on the types of conversations and advice that they might give/to what audience. Now that I’ve had the time to go back to these two, I’ve had quite a bit of fun going back and looking again at both their basic designs and the kind of scenarios that I put them in. It’s also given me the time to really think about who I want the champagne to speak to; having looked around at the times of champagnes that are around at the moment and the charities that I’ve researched are all about awareness and visibility. So I’ve decided that the focus of my champagne is going to be about getting people to ‘be more like Steve’, encouraging people to look out for the signs of depression and other mental health in their friends and family. I’m going to focus on making sure that people know how to talk to their about how they’re feeling, and how to make them open up about what their experiencing to de-stigmatize and help them on the road to recovery.