Editor’s Note: I learned about Olga when she reached out to me through a form on this site. She is a pretty incredible designer and person, as you will see when you read on. Thank you, Olga, for shining your light with the world, and with us. All of the illustration you see here is Olga’s.
My name is Olga, I am 26 years old, and since childhood I have been suffering from mood swings, derealisation, anxiety and ADHD. As a teenager, I had many complexes and it was difficult for me to communicate with people and I had agoraphobia, so I had to transfer to homeschooling. My parents never understood my mental state and said depression didn’t exist.
At the age of 16 I went to a Design college, and when I was18 years old I moved to live separately from my parents, later I entered the university for the same design and graduated from it. When I was 22 years old, I went to a psychiatrist and she diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder and depression. Since then, I have been undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy and taking pills. A year ago I relocated to another country. I work as a freelance illustrator. It is very difficult for me to fit into a team and I prefer to work from home and communicate only with close friends. I often feel lonely, sad and anxious, but drawing helps me. I put my feelings on paper. Also, when I have a nervous strain, I get drunk with alcohol, or I overeat very strongly. It’s hard for me to accept myself and my achievements.
I’m critical of my appearance, it’s also difficult for me to have close relationships with men, so many of my partners were unemployed abusers. Despite all this, I often feel in a good mood and euphoric. I really like to walk a lot with my beloved dog, travel, explore new places, and draw.
I have a dream to become a psychologist or psychotherapist and help other people.
Q: Can you tell me a little about yourself — where do you live? when did you start drawing? Do you work in illustration?
My name is Olga. I’m a freelance cartoonist/illustrator. I was born in Saint-Petersburg, but relocated to Kazakhstan, because of the political situation. I don’t agree with our government. I started to draw when I was 3 years old, and started to work as a freelance artist when I was a student.
Q: Can you tell us about some of your favorite illustrations? What does it feel like to “get it right”?
My favorite illustration is somewhat reminiscent of Kafka’s story “Transformation”. It shows a lonely girl in a creepy old room, she turns into an insect. For me, this is the personification of alienness, loneliness and rejection of me by the world.
Q: How do you find what inspires you, either topically or stylistically?
I am inspired by life, different situations, people who surround me, and travel. And books by Kafka and Sartre. I love their dreary, creepy, sometimes surreal description of human feelings.
Q: Who are some of your favorite artists in the mental health space? Do you think of yourself as being in the mental health space?
I don’t particularly know specifically artists who understand mental health. I know only those who are good at conveying emotional states through their drawings. I’m very fond of Frida Kahlo, Kandinsky, and old 20th century cartoonists like Heinrich Rudolf Zille. I’m close to the mental health field myself because I’ve been seeing a therapist for a very long time and I have to wrestle with my thoughts and mental states every day. I’m also going to study to become a psychologist.
Q:. What do you wish people knew about your art that they might not know?
I would like people to know that my drawings are as true as possible, it’s like a diary of emotions and events. I draw everything I feel and see.
Q: Who do you most hope to reach?
I wanted to show people with borderline personality disorder and depression that they are not alone. Perhaps these people would find an outlet in my drawings.