ABOUT :::::::::BRAIN//STORM the Mix Tape is a project designed to bring to light stories of artists, emerging and professional independent artists who face challenges of trauma, and mental illness.

The project brings together musicians and artists who have known these challenges to share their songs, art and stories in the form of a Mix tape, a zine and  Screen printed art posters.

BRAINSTORM mix tapes, zines and art posters  will be sold and all proceeds after expenses of duplication and postage  will be donated to the Vic Horvath Fund for emerging musicians.  Vic’s parents have created a fund in Vic’s name dedicated  to assist musicians to follow their dream. Vic Horvath is a good friend of mine who passed away in fall 2018 due to complications of  epilepsy.

Vic is a songwriter who lived and worked in Victoria, BC. You can find their music here. 

As well as touring and recording their solo project, Vic also founded the collective Mono Moon, which was a support for many local musicians and artists. Vic was also a very talented recording engineer, artist, cook, writer  and a powerful inspiration to many artists and musicians. Their dedication to their art and community was unwavering. Vic also struggled with the mental and physical affects of epilepsy, as well as the myriad of side-effects that emerge from certain medications. Despite these challenges, Vic was living their dream in full technicolour.

As a friend of Vic, I witnessed their real struggle of living with this illness and pursuing a career as an independent artist. I also know this struggle myself , having lived with PTSD,  and dissociation for over a 15 years.  It was something we discussed often and we kept in touch often to check in and offer support. ‘Keeping up’  in a competitive industry was something we both struggled with- for example,  touring. When the maintenance of an illness requires a specific diet and plenty of sleep, touring can be very stressful.  In my last conversation with Vic, I understood that aspects of their last festival performance had been very unpleasant and distressing. Stress is a major trigger for seizures with epilepsy. This was not the first time that their tour experience had been overwhelming. I was very worried about my friend. It was very soon after that Vic left us for another world.

It’s my hope that this small project will bring forward stories of triumph over adversity from a diverse community; as well as humour and techniques for tackling the absurd world. I hope this project will help bring to light real ways in which our creative communities can be more aware, inclusive and supportive of artists with mental health struggles and disability.

There is a lot of  stigma attached to disability and to mental illness. It can be seen in the way artists with disability are often labeled ‘outsider’ artists ( historically, outsider artists have been both diminished and fetishized).  The stigma is experienced within artist circles, media,  from institutions, and even between band mates or friends.  It often feels like being too open about disability prevents you from being recognized as a legitimate artist to some degree- as the focus turns to your ‘disability’ and not to the talent you are sharing.  I hope by engaging in this conversation that it will create a shift,  inspire other artists, institutions and communities to engage in it too and make some real changes.



This tape project is dedicated to my dear friends Vic Horvath, Zoe Cassidy, Nell Anastasia Parfinuk and Joel Artkinson as well as their families, friends and fans. Their art-hearts reached far and wide, inspiring many. Their struggles were real and many times, suffered in silence and isolation. They all experienced stigma and oppression due to illness, due to beliefs, sexuality and gender.  They all passed from this world leaving a legacy of their artistic genius and creative passion for life.