Problem Glyphs all started with a meme. One night last November, artist Eliza Gauger offered to draw a personalized symbol for anyone on Tumblr who revealed a deep secret or source of shame via anonymous message.
"I'm going to draw you a sigil about your problem and you can use it to focus your horrible powers and destroy your enemies," she posted. She drew the first glyph, entitled "[I AM STANDING MY GROUND]," in response to a message that simply read, "afraid of going backwards // not literally //" and published the illustration less than 20 minutes later.
Since that night, Eliza has continued to receive dozens of requests from strangers for problem glyphs, with questions ranging from how to cope with PTSD from sexual assault to how to find fulfillment in one's life. What's even more remarkable about Eliza's creations is how deeply they resonate with a wide swath of viewers. Even if a sigil wasn't created in response to a question of yours, even if your deepest secrets and worries have nothing to do with the original querent's, you will find at least one glyph that will stir something deep inside of you, whether it's an image of a badass teenage Gorgon or the Bride of Frankenstein harnessing lightening for her own power.
Ahead, Gauger talked with Refinery29 about her inspiration, influences, and desire to do good work in this crazy world.