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Mei-Li Nieuwland

Contributed to: Invisible Illness: Anxiety - Pages 53-54 & 65

Tell us something about yourself! 
My name is Mei-Li Nieuwland, I'm an illustrator and artist currently living in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

What kind of art do you usually draw? 
I enjoy making illustrations and comics that encourage viewers to think about a certain topic in a different way. This can mean helping to explain how something works, or providing a new perspective on complex matters, like for example mental health, to encourage understanding and debate.

My primary medium is digital, but I like combining in traditionally-painted textures for a more organic look and feel. Lately, in my personal work, I've also been exploring Chinese ink painting.

What got you interested in working with the Anxiety anthology? 
I'm a strong advocate for mental health awareness, so I was on board with the idea of this anthology right away.

Tell us a little bit about your pieces for the anthology! 
The original illustration I submitted features a person being circled by imaginary tigers. I wanted to show the dizzying feeling of anxiety can cause, and the debilitating inertia of the moment. Going around in circles in your mind (and in so doing, only making things worse!) to me represents the worst part of anxiety.  

My other submission is an older illustration of a drowning girl set to a poem by Li Bai called "Self-Abandonment". Drawn during a time when I myself felt quite anxious, it is a very heavy reading of a poem that could otherwise also be interpreted as joyful and optimistic. To me, it’s a reminder of how much anxiety can change your state of mind and influence how you experience the world.

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