Cover image of long exposure of man with sparkler

"Getting involved in therapy and/or therapeutic art projects takes a lot of courage, but the creative journey is an interesting road to travel."

About Foster:foster-profile

I am a multi-disciplined artist whose work examines social and cultural issues often shrouded in taboo and stigma. Recent exhibits have considered diverse issues including the challenges returning Veterans from Afghanistan face as they reintegrate into civilian life, as well as installations that leverage visual arts practices to give voice to those struggling with depression and suicide. Our lestweforgetCANADA mural and Tribute Pole were exhibited in Canada House, Trafalgar Square UK.

What was the major turning point in your advocacy against depression and improving your own health?

Losing a friend to suicide coinciding with a rash of suicides by returning Canadian veterans motivated me to get proactive…how could I help?

One way was to create art projects teaming veterans from Afghanistan with community members to discuss war stories and better understand their experiences. Another was to create art installations by collaborating with participants willing to share their struggles with depression. This was something I could do that could perhaps be helpful and cathartic for everyone involved.

What are some things that have helped you?

Therapy and/or therapeutic arts

  • For those having difficulty talking about their feelings, photographs are a great medium. You don’t need to be an artist to take photos… and pictures say 1000 words.
  • Getting involved in therapy and/or therapeutic art projects takes a lot of courage, but the creative journey is an interesting road to travel. Photographs are a great start. You won’t know where you are going, nor where you end up, but how you get there can be productive and rewarding.

Putting yourself out there.

  • Source out the various service providers and networks doing creative work. There are other people in the same camp…you need to meet them. Temporary feelings of sadness and/or anxiety can be treated.

Talking about it

  • It is certainly a ‘leap of faith’ but trusting the unknown is better than doing nothing. Tell your friends if you are feeling low… support can be right there in front of you… they too, or a family member of theirs may also struggle with depression.

What advice would you give to guys fighting depression?

Do what you need to do to be happy. Get out of town. Move 2000 miles away. Change your name. Go back to school. Get a new job. Find new friends. Keep your family at arms length. Do whatever it takes to be happy – that’s what I did.

“even if you fall flat on your face, at least you are moving forward” – Richard Branson

Foster Eastman, is a multi-disciplined artist based out of Vancouver, B.C. Canada.