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Dark arts: this is what fear, doubt, and anxiety look like

Two artists illustrate what goes on inside our heads

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For the past two months, a pair of California-based artists have been helping people — and each other — with cathartic illustrations and poetry on their site, Problem Glyphs.

It started almost as a joke between friends, a play on the Tumblr tradition of "ask memes," but quickly morphed into a way to help the the anonymous lost of Tumblr. The concept is simple: anyone can send their issues to Eliza Gauger, the illustrator behind the site. Gauger then draws a glyph addressing the issue, accompanied by poetry from her friend and collaborator on the project Elias IKB.

The problems tackled by Eliza and Elias range from ephemeral moments of doubt to mental health problems and more serious issues, and their responses are similarly varied. Some are light and humorous, others dark and meaningful. We spoke with the artists to discover more about the reasoning and methodology behind the project.

Problem Glyphs


I'm afraid of dying too young and missing out on everything
Gauger isn't sure why she formally started Problem Glyphs. "I felt like I wanted to help," she says, "mythology and symbolism are the only thing I'm fluent in ... I felt like maybe we could help each other, the askers and I, by their prompting my drawings and my drawings prompting some kind of comfort."

All images copyright and published with the permission of Eliza Gauger. More examples of Gauger and IKB's work can be found on their Tumblr.