Earl Warren students contribute art to ‘Anxious Nation’ documentary

Tyler, 13, said she likes drawing eyeballs.
(Tyler Campman)

Students at Earl Warren had their original art on display in the documentary “Anxious Nation,” which screened at the Coronado Island Film Festival last weekend.

The film captures the experiences of children and their families struggling through anxiety and other mental health issues. Eighth grader Genevieve Porkolab attended the screening. She drew a picture of a crying girl with several derogatory thought bubbles swirling around her head.

Earl Warren students contributed artwork to "Anxious Nation."
(Genevieve Porkolab)

“What inspired it was that last year when I was in seventh grade, I was being bullied by some of the eighth graders,” said Genevieve, 13. “And when the opportunity came up to give it to ‘Anxious Nation,’ I thought it would be good to put that out there.”

Filmmaker Laura Morton, who lives in Cardiff, said that the crew curated artwork from Australia, India and other places around the world. But they were especially excited to include the Earl Warren submissions.

“The art represents these kids’ feelings,” Morton said. “It’s an outlet for their anxiety. But we are so proud that these students from Earl Warren were willing to share their feelings through their art and allow us to use it in the film.”

Eighth grader Tyler Kampman drew an eyeball with a person inside, trying to escape.

“I just find it interesting because I feel like you can do so much with them, and you can change them,” said Tyler, 13. “It’s a way to draw anything. It’s kind of like a window, in a way.”

Earl Warren art and English teacher Tami Austin said the students took “a really honest approach” in the work they completed.

“Some of them were more positive in nature, and others really revealed a lot of emotion and hurt that surprised me,” Austin said. “These were raw, it was organic emotion.”

Uma said her drawing depicts depression.
(Uma Zaric)

Eighth grader Uma Zaric, 13, drew a skeletal figure meant to represent depression.

“My inspiration was my own experience with depression and how it made me feel,” Uma said.

Another eighth grader, 13-year-old Mason Jacobs, composed a moon-like circle in the center of a black background spattered with white.

Mason often works in his backyard.
(Mason Jacobs )

“I just did it in my backyard,” he said. “It really calms me down when I do it, just helps me focus on stuff.”