York’s Wellness Initiative Fund provided a grant for new project designed by a York University graduate student that offers a break from pandemic-related angst.
Brian G. Smith, a master’s candidate in interdisciplinary studies and an award-winning Second City alumnus, is the project director of a two-minute video titled “The ABCs of Anxiety.” The video is a cartoon based on the drawings and “tragicomic” poem by Toronto illustrator and writer Sean Sinclair-Day.
“When I saw Sean’s kooky characters on Instagram, I was immediately floored by how well they captured our COVID angst. I knew I wanted to do something with them,” said Smith. “The poem offers 26 reasons (A to Z) why the last two years have been so hard on all of us.”
Smith successfully applied for a grant from York’s Wellness Initiative Fund to create the cartoon.
Students and student groups associated with graduate studies at York can apply for up to $1,500 to support the undertaking of projects, initiatives, resource development, events or programs related to graduate student wellness through the Wellness Initiative Fund.
This project included 15 York grad students from the film, music, digital marketing and psychology departments.
Hamilton media artist Darryl Gold crafted the “beatnik-esque” animation for the images.
The project’s goal, said Smith, was to provide views with a small dose of comic relief.
“All the stress was getting to me. The pandemic, work, lockdowns, variants, isolation, other people. The anxiety loop had swallowed me whole,” said Sinclair-Day. “If the ebb and flow of anxiety is something I’m always going to have to deal with, I need to find a way to laugh at it.”
The ABCs Instagram account is @ABCsAnxiety. Watch the video online.
Listen to a podcast that describes the process of creating the cartoon.