Antidote to chaos
On his visit to B’luru, Jovanny V Ferreyra, the face behind Artidote, a virtual space to heal through art, shares how he went on to become a social media sensation with a following of over one million
When Jovanny V Ferreyra founded Artidote in 2015, he had no inkling of its reach. Today, with 1 million followers on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, the social media account that uses poems and quotes to create a safe space, bond and heal through art, has become every millennial’s go-to spot.
As part of his India Tour with Under 25, Ferreyra was in the city recently for ‘The Artidote moment’. “Bengaluru is like second home because the last time I came here was in February 2020, when I almost decided to move here for good from America. But the pandemic hit and all my plans changed,” says Ferreyra.
Two years later, he booked his flight to attend his friend’s wedding in Goa and stayed longer to go on with his India tour. “I started Artidote during a depressing episode in my own life in 2015. I had just moved to Berlin to make it big in the art world but I didn’t really have a great experience. I couldn’t do many of the mundane activities except sit and scroll on my phone. Through that, I started collecting artworks and poems, started sharing them and realised it was helping me and others who read it too,” he says. With a majority of followers between the ages of 20 and 35, his audience grew over the years and across the globe.
During the workshop that was held at the Under25 headquarters, Ferreyra interacted with the participants, collected their stories, read them out loud and gave insights. He says, “The idea is to connect the stories and blow them up in bigger pictures. It was a coaching experience and storytelling session, giving the audience a space to feel comfortable.”
When asked how he deals with overwhelming situations, he points out that he uses a few methods to help him. “I tell myself the following sentences — My body is a safe space to feel my fear. My body is a safe space to feel my anxiety, to feel my stress and my thoughts — I repeat this over and over again till I can feel my nervous system calm down,” he explains, adding that he also does breathing exercises to handle any situation.
Having been born in a small town in Mexico, his parents migrated to Chicago when Ferreyra was 10 years old. He didn’t enjoy his life there, often felt bullied and had a tough life. “The concept of getting professional help wasn’t something that was explored back then. So, my upbringing has been similar to how many Indians feel. But I realised that I had to take charge of my life. I’m happy to see that many others today are making that decision and choosing their mental health over anything else,” he says.
Here in the country till the first week of May, Ferreyra hopes to soak in all that India has to offer before he returns to Mexico. “I’m beyond thrilled to see what more Artidote can do and how it can touch more lives. I’m happy to see how far we’ve come and hope to continue doing the same,” Ferreyra signs off.