A couple weeks ago we wrote about the Power of Partnerships, a new venture LOST FORMAT has started with other like-minded individuals, organizations, and companies that are committed to addressing homelessness in their community. Through partnering, we’re able to make an even bigger difference, and on a broader scale, than by doing it alone. We are super proud to officially announce our first co-branding initiative: The Artidote!
If you have not heard of the Artidote, you’re about to get your soul rocked. Jova Varela Ferreyra launched his campaign in 2015 to build an inclusive, virtual (and eventually, physical) community of people who support one another through art, dialogue, and events, with an emphasis on mental health. We had a chance to chat a bit with him about his journey and vision - check it out!
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Briefly walk us through your story – how/why did you start and how did you get to where you are today?
In early 2014 I began curating artwork through Facebook. My way of designing posts went viral, organically growing into a community of millions and, more importantly, forming empathetic bonds between people across cultures, creeds & classes. In 2015, to give my online curation a more purposeful direction, I launched The Artidote as a virtual space where to story-tell, empathize, bond and heal through art. Today it is a global community of support that is saving lives through social media. As this movement continues to grow and evolve, it has also gone beyond the virtual and entered real spaces via Artidote meet-ups & Moments that I host in cities across the world. B R E A T H E is our mantra and #MentalHealthOverEveryDamnThing is our motto.
What has been the most challenging thing about your journey? The most exciting?
Doing this work over the years solely as a passion project has been both the most challenging and exciting part. It has challenged my fears by forcing me to grow out of my comfort zone; being an introvert and having a history of social anxiety, this project has challenged me to expand my space of comfort. 5 years ago I would have been painfully anxious to have to speak in front of a dozen people at once. Earlier this year I was in Bangalore speaking on stage to an audience of more than 2,500 souls. The most exciting part of any challenging journey, I feel, is getting to discover vast parts of yourself that you weren't aware of.
Tell us about your community - what do you do and what are you best known for? What are you most proud of as a collective? What sets you apart from others?
The Artidote community is known for the empathetic, supportive, inclusive space it provides. Not only is it one of the few online communities that actually feels like an extended family, where members support and care for each other (even at a distance, across borders and computer screens). This is what I'm perhaps the most proud of, the kind-hearted people that it tends to attract. Getting to say that I created an online space that is making people feel connected—a true "social medium"—that has been saving lives along the way... sounds incredible. And it's what sets The Artidote community apart from other online communities. The best thing is that this online community is organically growing beyond the virtual space.
What are your plans for the future? What are you looking forward to or planning for?
The more that this project develops, the more that it is pointing to the creation of Artidote Chapters in cities and campuses across the world; collectives that, depending on their culture, background and particular needs, could better cultivate the mental wellbeing of its members. Ten years down the line we may see The Artidote becoming a global resource made up of communities across the world with not only professional resources at hand for Artidotees, but also simply spaces where to meet other like-hearted people and openly talk about the things we think about the most but talk about the least.
What sort of impact do you hope to leave on the world?
I want to eradicate the stigmas/taboos surrounding mental health worldwide. I believe this is the generation that will shift the collective consciousness around Mental Health so that it’s seen with the same level of importance (or more) as our physical health. And I humbly believe that a global community like The Artidote has the potential to be at the forefront of that change.
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We are proud to partner with Jova/The Artidote. The world is what we make it, and together, and we’re partnering to change it - for good.
Grab one of The Artidote’s B R E A T H E shirts, made and distributed by LOST FORMAT. Every purchase is a promise, every choice is a change - giving back to the homeless community with every item you buy. Thanks for being part of the ride :)