Never Give In: Artist Exclusive With Leon Holis

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Leon, a 22-year-old from Cardiff, creates artwork to represent how games can bring out the best in you.

This article is part of the Never Give In campaign, where 21 young Cardiffians were commissioned to create a piece of art showing how gaming affects their mental health. This is the story of Leon, a 22-year-old artist who was part of the project.

How has gaming affected your mental health? 

Generally speaking, it has connected me to the wider world and provided me with opportunities in various avenues of my life including making friends and developing me as an individual. 

I am certain that it has aided in defining my character and boosted my confidence too. It is an irreplaceable part of me that I am honestly grateful and proud to have.  

Escapism-wise, it provides me with the opportunity to get lost in my own world and really let myself flourish as an individual. 

I am quite competitive in nature and gaming as a whole allows me to fulfill my ambitions in that regard.  

It connects me with like-minded individuals and allows for my unique flair to come to life and be seen as an asset to others. 

What inspired you to create this artwork?

Mental health is often represented in various forms. The subject is rather broad in nature as it has many connotations and emotions in play. With this in mind, I took the approach of representing oneself in contrast with what your inner critic would view as a better version of yourself, where you feel as if you are living in the shadow of such an entity.

The artwork includes a game-meets-reality visual with fantasy elements that represent how games can bring out the best in you, at least in my experience. I feel like this piece gives the message to face things head-on and learn to accept being comfortable with yourself!

The artwork is done digitally, which is my preferred medium, but it also felt relevant to the topic of gaming and mental health. It’s a challenge for me so I can hopefully further my abilities with the medium.

I work within the gaming community and would consider gaming a large part of my life. I recently had the opportunity to talk to a professional that I have seen compete within the gaming sphere at the highest levels. He said that competing in the games, being involved in the community, and everything in-between has collectively helped him become a better person, especially seeing as he is a role model to others. This was something I had a lot of respect for and I wanted to reflect this in my work.

What message would you give to someone who is struggling with their mental health?

Mental health is a tough and broad subject. It’s not necessarily a negative thing even though the conversation surrounding it typically has negative connotations. It’s a matter of balance, and there are things that you can do that may surprise you to keep the balance, like ensuring you are eating well or getting enough sleep!

I am a big advocate for talking to others, no matter who it is, to get things off of your chest and get another perspective into what you might be struggling with. By doing this, you will learn that you are never alone in any of your struggles, no matter what!

To find out more about the Never Give In campaign and see the incredible artwork from all of the other artists, click HERE.

Struggling with your mental health? Check out TheSprout’s Mental Health Information Page where you can find loads of local and national support services.

If you’re sharing our posts from the Never Give In campaign on social media, remember to use the #PositiveMentalGaming hashtag. Feel free to tag us so we can see what you’re sharing!

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