OIAF 2019 Screening & The Body Electric Exhibit

OIAF 2019 Screening & The Body Electric Exhibit by Karolina Szablewska

OIAF 2019 Animation Screening I have some exciting news! Ever since the start of the U m a m i Animation YouTube channel, I’d be getting more involved in doing something I said I’d “never do” – animating. I worked on some portions of the script & some of the human faces in this animation …

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Overcoming Social Anxiety after 10+ Years – My Advice

turtle sitting on driftwood watercolor painting

Working through crippling social anxiety is one of my on-going New Year’s Resolutions and definitely a huge road block from friendship, live streaming, and presentations. It’s fairly common artists and introverts struggle with overcoming social anxiety. I can safely say it’s been a work in progress for a decade, and every year I look back and I’m surprised with myself.

My social anxiety used to be such a force to reckon with I would sit at home with an empty fridge to avoid making eye contact with a cashier (this is ages ago, when I was single and no one else could go fill the fridge for me). I pitched a film script to a jury in my second year of university, and that put me so far over the edge — I blacked out in the bathroom. Like a lot of anxious people, I’ve also drank myself to oblivion at every social event and greatly embarrassed myself in the process while attempting to find comfort…it’s very common and bad advice to drink to “take the edge off” a social situation. For me, it rarely helps, if not makes things worse. Any good therapist will try coach you away from relying on a drug response to cope with situations, especially if it’s away from alcoholism.

I guess I’ve been wanting to write something on this for a long time, but I never felt like I was quite there. It’s been a decade and I feel I’ve read “all that’s out there” for social anxiety advice. I’ve gone from having anxiety attacks everyday to being very calm, and I’m starting to notice a marked difference between myself and other people with anxiety. Some people even mistake me for being outgoing!

Overcoming Social Anxiety after 10+ Years - My Advice by Karolina Szablewska
A comic strip drawn for a project, SFX Comic, which used sound effects as inspiration for plot direction in each strip. This one transitions between the sounds “smek” and a fart. Ink and marker on bristol. ~2014

After 10 years of social anxiety, what have I observed?

I think social anxiety is a symptom of a low self-esteem + a higher-than-normal fear of rejection and failure + being an asshole to yourself. Yes, you are an asshole to yourself.

Think of an average person in high school breaking through that initial awkwardness of having feelings for people, coming out about those feelings, ultimately getting a Yes or No response, or being ridiculed for their actions. Eventually by repeating that experience enough, the average person builds up a tougher skin, learns how to gracefully ask someone out, and things turn out okay. They make friends, have relationships, they get along with people at work.

For people with social anxiety, it’s like that experience x1000 applied to every single social interaction in their life, with the added wall of paralysis on many occasions. It turns paying for groceries into a confrontational, emotionally intense, and very uncomfortable experience. But why does it matter if a cashier thinks you’re awkward? Are they even paying that much attention, or are they zoned out, don’t care because you’re not the first person to mess up saying “Good morning” or to drop your credit card in the universe?

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Pop-up Art Exhibition: Dreams to Remember + A new painting

Farm View from Airplane acrylic painting by Karolina Szablewska

This is a little late announcement: if you’re looking for something to do art-wise this weekend and are in Montreal, I’m going to be part of a pop-up art exhibition in the Mile End/Plateau area! What is a pop-up exhibition? It’s an exhibition that only lasts 1 night then disappears, so you really have only …

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Upcoming Exhibition: I AM NSCAD Group Expo.

I’m excited to announce one of my comics will be displayed during the I AM NSCAD group exhibition at the Anna Leonowens Gallery in downtown Halifax. The work will be up for sale, and a percentage of the profit goes towards NSCAD scholarships – which I have benefited from myself, as a Harrison-McCain Entry Scholarship …

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Next Exhibition: Draw Me a Mountain // Dessine-moi une montagne

I’m very excited to inform everyone that a new watercolour I just finished last month will be in the Draw Me a Mountain / Dessine-moi une montagne at the Smith House atop of Mont Royal, Montreal, Quebec. Je suis ravie d’informer tout le monde que une de mes nouvelles aquarelles seront dans l’exposition Draw Me …

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I want to give a heads up that I will have my most recent acrylic paintings in a juried art exhibition at the Écomusée de fier monde between March 25 – April 12. This is a group exhibition and paintings are for sale. // Je voudrais annoncer que mes oeuvres acryliques seront dans une exposition-concours au Écomusée …

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