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Reflecting on myself as an artist

Reflecting on myself as an artist I have realised that most of my work has come from my experience, what life experiences I have had, emotional journeys, physical and mental experiences. Things gained and lost, things learnt, places i have been and people I’ve met, love I’ve had and lost, not just people but experiences, from a very young child art and drawing were the safest place for me to be, in a world that seemed sometimes frightening and dangerous. Art remained my save space, the place which was mine, but I did not need to share which just expressed and allowed me to be who I was.

I then pursued a career with no formal training as an animator in London, quite successfully making rice crispy adverts etc, at this time I had many physical pursuits alongside like yoga and climbing, I then found working in a studio at a lightbox extremely limited, I then undertook to become a freelance commercial artist, doing such projects as a mural around the swimming pool of the Sultan of Brunei, Regent Street lights and many other interesting and unique opportunities. I though found the work interesting did not find it creatively expressive as I was always working to tight brief, and severe deadlines. This did so give me a large experience in working with many materials and in many ways.

Upon having an accident this work stopped as I was unable to use my right arm properly any more, in rehabilitation are concentrated further on physical pursuits in order to try and heal my injury, this led to me becoming a trapeze artist, tight wire and acro balance artist.

I then had my son, who changed my life in many extraordinary ways, I then became a drug and alcohol counsellor, still teaching trapeze and other circus pursuits, working more with outreach and disaffected and vulnerable young people, this work I found very satisfying. I then extended this work into working with young people and award systems, to qualify them in their passions and pursuits, helping evolve an award called the Bristol award which is still being used in positive ways.

Some years later I had another accident, this accident impacted largely upon my life, being undiagnosed with a rare condition which affected these my arms, this impacted on my work, home and emotional life, to the point of being bedridden, also due to my M E becoming worse, and also an undiagnosed heart condition, I then heard of the project running called art and prescription, due to high levels of pain, this was described for me as a form of pain control, pain management, along with the traditional prescribed medication. Upon taking this course, it was noticed that I had an artistic nature, and was offered to be supported through a degree at the same college, Petroc Barnstable. This opportunity directly led to me coming to Cardiff as it is not only enjoy, find exhilarating, this course, I found that it became a sense of purpose and a way of coping from isolation that disability brings. I have found that even though the body may fail, the mind is almost of more importance, that if this is not healthy and stimulated, then the body becomes even worse and stops altogether.

I realise that I have from coming to uni in varying states of fatigue, and pain, but this is of more value to me to pursue than anything else at present. Pain will persist whether you are busy or not, fatigue will happen and I have found the body insists on shutting down it will, but if you just give in to get shutting down then you would never move. I appreciate the opportunity and support given to allow me to pursue my creative potential, and use this as an opportunity to open discussion and conversation through my artwork, to a larger or greater world than I would be experiencing otherwise.

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