Nick Parker


If Symptoms Persist: Jonathan Reyes

If Symptoms Persist: Jonathan Reyes

Matthewblode 2 copy
Nick Parker Sep 22, 2019

The smile that makes you smile. Jono has a palpable optimism, both as a friend and as a professional, his positivity is infectious. Jono’s animations and illustrations are always full of life and represent his brand of storytelling beautifully. So it’s no surprise that I wanted to crack his beautiful head open to see if there’s any darkness in there at all.

Over the years, Jono has taught me what professional generosity is. Yes, he’s generous as a friend but to be so giving in a professional sense is something that isn’t often seen in this capacity. He shares his knowledge and gives his time selflessly, simply to help others in his position feel more capable and secure within themselves.

I wanted to find out how he keeps the demons at bay and his positivity at play. This is what I scooped out of his beautiful brain on the topic of stress and anxiety in creativity.

Jonathan Reyes:

To me, being and feeling creative is liberating. Bouts of anxiety come to me when I’m NOT feeling creative. As someone who works in a creative industry, and is thus labelled a ‘creative’, I believe there is an assumption that you can think of left-field ideas or execute gorgeous visuals on command. In reality, this is not the case, and puts an enormous amount of pressure on an individual if they are expected to come up with something on the spot.

I feel anxious if I don’t feel creative, because it can make me feel like an imposter.

Anxiety affects everyone differently, and in varying amounts. It took me a long time to recognise the feelings of stress or the dread of replying to a delayed email, was in actual fact anxiety. I describe it as this uncomfortable block that clouds your thinking and wants you to turn away from the computer. It is when you feel terrible when you can’t bring yourself to do an otherwise mundane task.

For me, feeling anxious always has a negative effect. To utilise anxiety as a cog to fuel your work is unhealthy in the long term for your mental health. Do not throw your mental health under the bus in return for a cool design.

Take a breath. Take a break. Take a moment away from your work. Reconnect with yourself, and remind yourself why you wanted to become a creative in the first place. Talk with other creatives, and listen to their stories.

Their empathy will show you that you are not alone. If symptoms do persist, seek professional help.

Any correlation between creativity and anxiety does not necessitate a causation one way or another. Many creative professionals suffer from varying forms of mental illness, and it needs to be addressed, not celebrated. Creativity comes from a clear and playful mind. Anxiety comes from a clouded one. Would you construct a building during a thunderstorm?