Whilst all Mondays make us want to pull the duvet over our heads and scream until our windows break, this one is apparently the worst. Yep, someone somewhere did some science and decided that this Monday is officially the worst in the year, declaring it bluer than Paul Hollywood’s icy stare. It makes sense, really, being the third Monday in January which means shit weather, an empty bank balance and an even emptier social calendar. But following almost two years of pandemic panic, political turmoil and general fuckery, this one feels a darker blue than usual. In fact, it’s navy. But us lot at Lazy Oaf never shy away from talking about how life can be a bit shit sometimes, and so we saw this Blue Monday as an opportunity to do just that. We’re catching up with one of our favourite illustrators, Liberty (@OrangeJuiceForDinner), whose art touches upon those everyday struggles we all go through, to chat about the topic of mental health, the healing powers of creativity, and how to overcome artistic slumps.
BLUE MONDAY with Orange Juice for Dinner
Hi Liberty aka, Orange Juice For Dinner! Who, what, and where are you?
Hello! My real name is Liberty and I’m an illustrator based in the South of the UK!
How long have you been creating art?
I have been drawing FOREVER. I studied Fine Art in college and didn’t enjoy it, and I also used to do a lot more portrait-style art which I loved. But I started Orange Juice For Dinner when I tried out illustration and wanted to do more playful and colourful work.
How would you describe your creative style, and who/what inspires you?
I like to think my style is a comforting cartoon, like visual comfort food. The kind of art you like looking at when you feel a bit bleh - that’s how I feel when I’m looking at some of my favourite art. Like when you’re looking at something one of your fave artists have posted and thinking “Ah, that’s nice.” I like taking a bit of a spin on the mundane, normal, everyday stuff, and things I might feel, hear or see throughout the day. Sometimes it’ll literally be something in my head that I need to get out. A lot of my inspiration comes from cartoons, music, movies and things that actually have happened also!
What made you decide to draw upon the theme of mental health within your designs?
I like projecting what I’m feeling into illustrations, and making art that people can take comfort in. Sometimes it’s nice getting things out and knowing that people do feel the same - not that you necessarily want them to - but knowing that you’re not alone when you’re feeling a bit shit and knowing it’s not going to last. Also, not feeling guilty about it. It’s always good to let things out, whether it's talking, drawing, anything that allows you to express yourself.
We love how you portray the inner narrative, its good and its bad. How do you decide which bits of thought would make good art, and which are just brain rambles?
I tend to think of things as soon as they happen, like if you’re in a social situation and you just think to yourself “omg I need to shut up”, those sort of things just happen so quickly, and I’ll instantly think “oh I’ll use that later!” As soon as I get an idea I always write it down because I know for a fact I’ll forget it if I don’t. Sometimes those kinds of things don’t come naturally which is when I struggle and get a block!
Do you find that being creative helps you cope with your own mental health?
YES. It’s such a huge outlet without even realising it. It’s also wonderful being able to share that with other people and seeing the effect it can have on others. Whether you’re being creative or absorbing things other people have created, it is so important and definitely helps my mental health. I don’t know what I’d do without it!
What do you do when you have a mental block?
I really try not to think about it, even though it can be quite hard especially when you want to get things done, but sometimes forcing ideas out when there’s nothing there can be even more frustrating and set you back further. Most of the time ideas will come at you when you’re least expecting them.
What’s your go to comfort dinner for when you’re feeling blue?
Lasagne, spaghetti, (veggie ofc) any kind of pasta or beige goodness.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to use creativity as a form of therapy, but is doubting their abilities, or keeps putting it off?
Do it, do it, do it. Even if you don’t like what you’re creating at first, keep going because eventually you’ll make something you love. It might take time but you’ll be so glad you kept at it! Never did I think making art was ever going to be a job for me and now that’s what it's turning into, all because I didn’t stop doing it even if I made some mistakes, or things I didn’t like. Let it all out, whatever you’re feeling… and don’t get disheartened. :-)