Self-care is productive

by Kelsey Brill-Funk

← Back to Showcase bachelor of fine arts, critical and cultural practice major

Fourth Year | Graduation year: 2023

Kelsey Brill-Funk (top to bottom): Self-care is productive, Everything I need is already inside of me, and I am overflowing with self-love and confidence. All 2022, archival inkjet print, 45.72 x 60.96 cm. (Images courtesy Kelsey Brill-Funk)

1 KBF Purple Portrait Final

Kelsey Brill-Funk, Self-care is productive, 2022. Archival inkjet print, 45.72 x 60.96 cm. (Image courtesy Kelsey Brill-Funk)

2 KBF Pink Foot Final

Kelsey Brill-Funk, Everything I need is already inside of me, 2022. Archival inkjet print, 45.72 x 60.96 cm. (Image courtesy Kelsey Brill-Funk)

5 KBF Blue Portrait Final

Kelsey Brill-Funk, I am overflowing with self-love and confidence, 2022. Archival inkjet print, 45.72 x 60.96 cm. (Image courtesy Kelsey Brill-Funk)

Screenshot 2023 03 29 at 11 56 15 AM

Kelsey Brill-Funk. (Image courtesy Kelsey Brill-Funk)

About the Artist

Kelsey Brill-Funk is a photographer and mixed-media artist from Banff, Alberta.

Brill-Funk is working to build a creative practice with a focus on social equity and community development within the arts. Brill-Funk has an interest in gender and feminist studies and her art practice explores these areas, often interwoven with themes of identity, language and the body.

Brill-Funk recently completed her BFA in Critical and Cultural Practice at Emily Carr University.


In this photographic series I explore the problematic and superficial culture of self-care in online spaces. Using the aesthetic of online self-care memes as an entry point for this work I mimic the bright colours and playfulness of online memes. I aim to create intriguing, even beautiful images that appear uneasy — a grotesqueness seeping out — a visual representation of the dissonance between online care culture and real life implications.

Self-care culture has become increasingly popular in recent years. Although the sharing and proliferation of self-care memes and content online may be well intended, the focus on consumerism and individual responsibility can reinforce classist beliefs and continue to exclude marginalized groups.

Online self-care culture’s emphasis on the individual and self-reliance in care is harmful as it ignores systemic issues and social inequalities that contribute to poor mental health and wellness. An individualistic culture leads to a lack of support and resources for those who cannot afford to engage in regular self-care practices and perpetuates a culture of blame and shame for those who struggle to care for themselves. The focus on external appearances and surface-level activities as self-care allows for a refusal to address larger, underlying causes of stress and anxiety such as socioeconomic inequality, inaccessibility or systemic racism.

With this series I invite viewers to consider how notions of self-care are constructed online and what kind of care they promote. How might online care-culture and tropes be keeping us unwell? What impact does consumerism and capitalism have on our physical and mental health? Considering these questions, how do we move beyond surface level care for ourselves and others? How do we foster practices of self-care that are inclusionary and that address the complex, systemic issues contributing to overall wellness?

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