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Jacob (left) and Nolan (right)

By Amanda Lipp, CEO, and Founder of The Giving Gallery

Jacob Goodwin and Nolan Fansler are California-based artists who are raising awareness and funds for Mental Health America (MHA) through art on The Giving Gallery. They are passionate about sharing how their creative process relates to mental health.

The Giving Gallery is an online art gallery where artists can share their story and sell their work to support mental health nonprofits, including MHA. You can follow them on Instagram or visit their website to learn more.

1. How does art relate to your mental health?

  • Nolan Fansler: Making art is essential for my mental health because a blank page or canvas is one of the only spaces where I’ve been able to express myself without any exterior rules or judgments. I believe that making art is just as much a way of processing information as writing or talking. It has become clear to me that making something on one's own terms from start to finish is healing. My creative process is often done in solitude. This allows for an honesty with myself and the viewer of my art that I don’t have anywhere else in adult life. I believe that being honest with oneself and others is directly related to mental health.
  • Jacob Goodwin: Art is an escape or release from my everyday world. My personality is more introverted, so I take in a lot of information and energy from the outside world and it bottles up. These feelings, energies, and emotions gather up, and then art helps me release it - channeling that energy into something that I can share with the world. My mind and interests usually gravitate towards ideas or content that is heavy and negative. For me, there is a sense of realness and sensibility within that content that grounds me as an artist.

2. Why do you make art? What is your process?

  • Nolan Fansler: Making art is a compulsion for me. It’s how I organize my experience and unravel my opinions. Painting allows me the ability to see what I’m feeling and thinking in relation to my environment. Every one of my paintings is a moment of self-discovery. Without art there would be so many things inside of me that I would not understand because I couldn’t see them. This may sound counter-intuitive, but I paint not because I know exactly what I want to say, I paint to understand what I have to say.
  • Jacob Goodwin: I make art to make a statement. Art is all about making statements that otherwise would not be made or to embellish on an idea that may, perhaps, need some visual aspect to it to make it greater. My artistic process is fairly internet content driven. I find images from various sources: occasionally books or magazines and build a collage-type work. From there I work off the images to create a painting. This is just one process I use. I have some abstract works that require no images but are based purely on feeling, emotion and my response to color.

3. Why did you join The Giving Gallery? For example, to be part of a larger movement to support mental health nonprofits, to increase your visibility or philanthropic status as an artist, to feel purpose, or this can also be where you talk about a/your personal mental health story.

  • Nolan Fansler: I joined The Giving Gallery because they have challenged me to think about my work through the lens of mental health. This challenge has made me increasingly aware of how vital mental health is to sustain and produce the work needed to build a successful career. The Giving Gallery provides a platform where artists can share their identity and how their work relates to mental health. I believe that throughout history, artists are compelled to reimagine, redefine and provoke new visions of what is possible.
  • Jacob Goodwin: I believe that artists need as many outlets or avenues of exposure as possible. I also believe that the outlets artists choose to represent says something about the artist. I joined the Giving Gallery because I believe that mental health is being overlooked within our society and community, and art can help with that issue in a major way.


 Jacob’s 1 minute film