Tampa, Fla. (Sept. 2013) – From Sept. 30 through Oct. 11, the Centre Gallery at the University of South Florida will host I like it, I’m not gonna crack by Grace Szeja. Visitors to the gallery will encounter various pen on paper self-portraits that document Szeja’s life prior to her clinical depression diagnosis through to adjusting to life on anti-depressants.
Grace Szeja, a native Florida artist, has two Fine Arts degrees—one in Computer Animation and the other in Graphic Design—from Florida Atlantic University. The work featured in this show emphasizes the coping skills Szeja recognizes and uses. She began visual journaling as a way of keeping a creative outlet, as well as an understanding and processing her emotional struggles caused by an undiagnosed mood disorder. Putting pen to paper during panic attacks, low moods, or angry outbursts were a coping skill she used to process and come to terms with her experiences. The show’s main emphasis is Szeja’s realization how much depression was negatively affecting her environment—family, work, and school. After 13 years of struggling unknowingly with clinical depression she uses her artistic skills to raise awareness of mental disorders, in hopes of encouraging others who may also be battling with depression alone to seek help.
Szeja is currently a contributor to the independent zine, Victory, where she writes and illustrates about her experiences with cognitive disorders. In 2012, she completed her first solo graphic novel, “About a Girl”, with the themes of depression and unplanned pregnancy. She also runs the Underground Comic Club and Paint a Masterpiece classes through Tampa Free Skool. She is currently working on a second graphic novel, “Cookery Do!”, and pursuing a Master’s Degree in either Art Therapy or Social Work. Her other passions include growing orchids, tea, training for her first half marathon, and her three-year-old daughter Violet.
DessART, Centre Gallery’s opening reception for this exhibit, will be held on Sept. 30 from 12 – 1pm. The closing reception will be held from 7 – 9pm on Friday, Oct. 11, in the Centre Gallery. The Centre Gallery is located on the second floor of the Marshall Student Center in room 2700, at 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa, Fla. It is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 11am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.
For more information, please contact the Centre Gallery at 813-974-5464.
For more information contact:
Natalya Swanson, Director of Artist Relations
Alyssa Cordero, Director of Public Relations
About the Centre Gallery
Centre Gallery is an innovative, student-run art exhibition space at the University of South Florida. Located in the Marshall Student Center room 2700, Centre Gallery (www.centregallery.usf.edu) is free and open to the public. The gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.