JUST BE NICE
Just Be Nice intends to visually demonstrate the emotions brought up in social situations by those whom have social anxiety. For those with social anxieties, the world is a nervous battlefield in which the individual feels the constant need to impress; often with the perception that they don’t- causing a perceived panic. The artist, who has social anxiety, is attempting to display the sense of ‘hugeness’ or mass that one feels when placed into a new social situation. The sense of panic that is felt can impress on the individual a feeling a ‘hugeness’, coming from a over-whelming sense of self-awareness. A hyper sense of self-awareness can create an urge to escape, which in turn develops into a sense of ‘smallness’ (or unimportance). The paintings, in turn, try to describe the contradiction of ‘hugeness’ and ‘smallness’ that is felt in this form of anxiety.
The title, ‘Just be nice’, comes from a series of studies practiced on groups with social anxiety. The studies concluded that performing small acts of kindness actually decrease levels of anxiety. When performing these small acts of kindness, the participant was forced to focus on the other individual (receiving positive reinforcement also helped), rather than turning inward with obsessive self reflection. Although welcome advice, perhaps this solution is an oversimplified answer to a complicated problem that affects approximately 15 million Americans.