A Brief History of ANXTI | Upfest

A Brief History of ANXTI


"Anxiety and panic attacks are two things I’ve had to deal with quite a lot through out my life.

In 2015 I was really not coping in what I was finding to be a very challenging job. Late one night whilst I was still in the office, I started playing with a ball of blu-tack as a form of stress relief. Before I knew it I had accidentally created a small blue figure using staples as limbs and a biro pen to lid shape the eyes. That evening ANXTI was born!

Coincidently my girlfriend had been encouraging me to find creative avenues in order to try and break the bad cycle of … work long hours - get extremely stressed - barely sleep and repeat.

So I started photographing and leaving these little Blu-tack figures around London for people to find. Whilst being heavily influenced by graffiti and street art, I started doodling new variations of ANXTI which lead to me designing stickers.

In 2016 I was fortunate enough to travel to Australia. I tried to leave an ANXTI outside the Sydney Opera House but it melted in the Ozzie sun. That experience led me to replacing the blu-tack with 3D printed models which I duplicate using plastic resin and then paint. I have since left hundreds of ANXTIs all over the UK and Europe for people to find.

Working on the ANXTI project in my spare time made me realise that art is great form of therapy. It’s helped me enormously over the past 8 years navigate anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia and grief. The physical act of creating the work, even just thinking up new ideas is a great distraction from the stresses of everyday life. I have noticed recently that when I am going through a difficult time the amount of art I create increases as I channel my thoughts and feelings into the work.

ANXTI has also been a hugely instrumental in forcing me out of my comfort zone. I’ve found it’s very easy for me to let anxious thoughts such as “you’re not good enough,” push me back into bad habits. However working on the ANXTI project has enabled me to tick some things off my bucket list which anxiety has stopped me from doing in the past like, travel, paint murals and have my very own art show.

My hope for ANXTI is to help others and increase awareness of mental health issues, like anxiety. The conversations I’ve had with people as a result of this project have been incredible and I’ve been amazed at the response to this little character. For years I felt like I was alone in how I felt. Art has shown me I am not."

-ANXTI 2023

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