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Liz Kaneda, the artist behind The Snarky Company, shares her journey and the impact her mental health art has on raising awareness.
Meet Liz Kaneda, the artist and owner of The Snarky Company, a small business that creates mental health art in the form of enamel pins, epoxy resin, acrylic, and fiber art. Originally from Philadelphia, Liz has lived in several places around the world, but she now resides in Raleigh, NC with her partner and two dogs. Her passion for art began at the age of 16 and eventually led her to earn her bachelor's and master's degrees in Film, Photography, and Media studies. After spending ten years as a professional photographer, Liz shifted her focus to other art forms, which ultimately led to the creation of The Snarky Company.
My passion for art started when I was 16 and picked up my first film camera.
Liz's journey with mental health began as a child when she discovered that creating art helped her relax and focus. Living with ADHD, overstimulation and racing thoughts were often overwhelming for her. A creative outlet became essential for her mental health, and she began to infuse her life experiences into her mental health art. In 2018, she created the Own Your Stigma pin collection, which reflects her struggles with ADHD, depression, and anxiety through enamel pins. With the hope of connecting with others who share similar experiences, she released the collection as a crowdfunded pin campaign.
"In 2018 I decided to take a break from photography and shifted my focus to different art forms. I started designing enamel pins, which led me to starting my small business. I now work as a full time artist creating enamel pins, and working with epoxy resin, acrylic, and fiber art. When I'm not making art or working on The Snarky Company, I enjoy playing video games, watching movies and TV, spending time with my partner and our two dogs (Mochi and Yuzu), cooking Japanese food, and lifting weights." Liz says.
As a person with ADHD, I often experience overstimulation and racing thoughts. When I was a kid, I discovered that creating art helped me to relax and focus.
"Infusing my life experiences into my art led to the creation of the Own Your Stigma pin collection in 2018. This collection reflects my struggles with ADHD, depression, and anxiety through enamel pins. Hoping to connect with others who share similar experiences, I released the collection as a crowdfunded pin campaign." Liz says.
Liz's Own Your Stigma pin collection has become a powerful representation of the challenges faced by individuals living with ADHD, depression, and anxiety. By incorporating her personal experiences into her mental health art, she has created a meaningful collection that resonates with others who face similar struggles
One of the most rewarding aspects of running a business focused on mental health art is the connections she has made with others who have experienced similar struggles. The crowdfunded pin campaign allowed her to reach a wider audience and foster a sense of community among those dealing with mental health issues. As more people discover and connect with Liz's artwork, the Own Your Stigma collection continues to raise awareness, promote understanding, and break down barriers surrounding mental health.
"The most rewarding aspect of running a business focused on mental health is meeting others who have experienced similar struggles." Liz says.
Many customers have reached out to share their own stories and relate to her art. For Liz, knowing that her mental health art resonates with even one person is incredibly fulfilling. Additionally, this has led to some incredible friendships and connections with individuals she may not have met otherwise.
Growing up during a time when mental illness was rarely discussed, Liz struggled with undiagnosed ADHD and anxiety. "I grew up in the 90’s and early 00’s during a time when the vibe was very much “we don’t talk about mental illness”. I struggled with undiagnosed ADHD and anxiety as a child and teenager, and no one was talking openly about mental health, so I didn’t even have words to describe what I was going through." Liz says.
She didn't receive her ADHD, depression, and anxiety diagnosis until she was 21 years old. Initially, she kept her diagnosis to herself, but eventually, she realized the importance of being vocal about her mental health. Liz now strives to spread awareness of misunderstandings and misconceptions about ADHD and to normalize seeking help and treatment for mental health issues through her mental health art.
When I first got my diagnosis I didn’t really talk about it, I kept it to myself and quietly researched about ADHD.
Liz offers valuable advice to those facing mental health challenges, emphasizing the importance of knowing that they are not alone in their struggles.
"The best advice I have for people struggling with mental health issues is very cliche: You’re not alone. It’s okay to ask for help and your struggles are valid. Finding help or treatment for your mental health issues can be a complicated struggle, but just keep going. It takes time to find what works for you." she says.
By sharing her experiences and insights, Liz hopes to encourage others to be open about their mental health, ask for help when needed, and ultimately discover the tools and resources that will help them in their journey towards better mental health.
As an artist and entrepreneur, Liz has faced challenges in running her small business, such as managing all aspects of her business alone.
"The most challenging aspect of running a small business is that I do everything. Social media, accounting and taxes, creating art and content, marketing, answering customer emails, packing orders…at the end of the day it’s all me." Liz tells me.
However, she has learned that she is capable and resourceful. Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to do research and utilize the tools available on the internet. She believes that with enough determination and hard work, turning a passion into a successful mental health art business is possible.
It is sometimes a lot to manage, especially when living with an executive function disorder such as ADHD.
Liz's journey with The Snarky Company demonstrates the power of mental health art in breaking the stigma around mental health. Through her enamel pins and other art forms, she has created a platform for individuals to share their experiences, connect with others, and find solace in knowing they are not alone in their struggles.
If you want to turn your passion into a business, and don’t know where to start, an internet connection and Google can get you really far.
As Liz continues to create and share her mental health art, she is playing a crucial role in changing the conversation around mental health and inspiring others to do the same.