The first three You Are Not Alone murals launched across New York City in May 2019, timed to coincide with Mental Health awareness month. Though inspired by a compassion for those struggling with mental health issues, the murals have broad appeal and offer support to anyone who feels misunderstood, victimized, or abandoned. Each artist will work in the same color palette and illustrate the phrase: You Are Not Alone. While the murals are unified, each artist will bring his or her unique visual and emotional interpretation to the project. The aim is to grow the project beyond New York to other cities across the country in the months and years to come.
The project is conceived of and curated by designer, illustrator and mural painter Annica Lydenberg (Dirty Bandits) and Samantha Schutz, mental health advocate and critically-acclaimed author of I Don’t Want To Be Crazy.
How It Started
Annica and Samantha's first collaboration was more than 20 years ago when Annica created a book of Samantha’s poetry and illustrated it with photography. Always fierce supporters of each other professionally and personally, the two found a new intersection of their work in the You Are Not Alone Murals.
In 2019, Annica doubled down on her commitment to do work that supports social causes. At the same time, Samantha's memoir about anxiety disorder, I Don’t Want to Be Crazy, and launched You Make Me Feel Less Alone, a creative community of mental health support that features submissions of original art and writing.
While Annica was creating a visual identity for You Make Me Feel Less Alone, she asked, “What if this were bigger? What if we made murals for people to see in person and feel supported--no matter what they are going through.” And so You Are Not Alone Murals was born. Annica brings her expertise in typography and mural painting and connections to the street art community to this series; Samantha brings her mental health advocacy and communications background.
Annica Lydenberg of Dirty Bandits is an art director, lettering artist, illustrator, and mural painter working with agencies and brands to create more authentic products, campaigns, and spaces. Work done by Dirty Bandits is fueled by Annica’s deep appreciation for type, her interest in storytelling, and dedication to brands and individuals working for social good. Projects include working with companies on campaigns, branding, books, lettering projects, and murals.