Bio: Ex Wellingtonian. St Kilderite since ’90. Likes art and voluntary work.
For a nano second
The cresting wave
The Happy Accident
I got into art and journaling after I broke my clavicle. My physio ran out and I couldn’t afford more so I thought I’d get a book out of the library about tying knots to use my arm. But I wanted something I could look at rather than a knot you tie then untie again. So I bluetacked a bit of paper to the wall and tried to draw with my injured arm. It was great physio and the marks were child-like, it was something I found therapeutic.
It got me into doing art – nocturnal seascapes, the light systems from light houses and how that looks on the water. I started looking at the impressionists. I realised it was about capturing the sensation that you were feeling. I needed some paper and didn’t have any money. I found an old A4 daily diary with dates in a skip. Someone had written in it. They were really busy and it was interesting reading someone’s life and their thoughts and feelings. I sketched and wrote or used pastels over things they wrote.
I had to write lots of notes in these books that kept getting lost, so I put them in the sketchbook. I started writing about experiences with a violent Dad and my Stepmum, experiences that were unfair and painful. When I wrote I imagined I was doing slogans for T-shirts, which would really capture what I was wanting to convey, but visually interesting. I ended up joining up all the punchlines I’d written for these T-shirt slogans on a list, then picked out pieces and joined them together in a DaDa way, in groups or sentences or paragraphs that highlighted how I was feeling.
I did a lot of this on trams. Trams are a great place to work, particularly if you’re living in a rooming house with idiots wanting to talk all the time. The whole process got me in touch with how I was feeling and how to express that. Writing was extremely painful. Pictures were easier.
What you see in the pictures is what started emerging. I’d always been a person who’d said ‘No’ to everything. I could look at a piece and see all the layers that sat underneath it.
I started putting the images on T-shirts and wearing them. I thought, instead of wearing my heart on my sleeve, I’d wear my pain on my chest.
I wanted to be brave.