Updated: May 15
I work for Creative Minds delivering fun and therapeutic art sessions. Most of my clients are in care homes or residential homes.
It was the Thursday of the second week of March when it all really hit me. Pretty much all of my clients contacted me that day to say that I could no longer enter their care homes. It was a sinking feeling and I felt numb for a little bit. But I soon had a surge of ideas for how I can fill my time. I’d been wanting to make time for a painting for a while now, I’ve also got a load of sticker designs that need to manifest and I had been thinking about starting a YouTube channel. Now was the perfect time for all of these.
From Creative Minds HQ came the Art Activity Box idea. This involves making up a box of art materials and a few sessions and doing the sessions through video link. Unfortunately most of my care homes are not putting art as a priority, which I fully understand, so I'm only getting a trickle of work through this scheme. But I do feel I can make it work. However my attention has been elsewhere.
One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most about this situation is the level of focus I can give to a project. I usually have so many other things going on that I can only work on my projects little by little and over time. I can’t remember being able to give myself so much time to complete things since I was at Uni.
The first thing I wanted to complete was my stickers. I have 12 designs that have been waiting to materialise for some time now. The images had been created but I needed to make them print ready. During this process I decided that some of them needed alterations. It was lovely to look at some of the designs in a new light. Dooda Love Bird was created in 2007. He was part of my degree show. Later I recreated him in Illustrator but I wasn’t so competent back then, and the line wasn’t how I would do it now, so I changed it and I added quite a few bits. I really like the new version.
And I thought that Reg Llama of Brixton, a drawing I did back in the 90’s, could do with a make-over too. From ’95 to ’99 I had a clothing company called Reg Llama of Brixton, named after one of the directors of Monty Python’s Holy Grail (it's true, he was a director, well kind of). I also named this drawing Reg Llama and he became one of my most popular T-shirts. He came about through drawings I made whilst exploring Mayan art. I have this amazing book, Painted Books from Mexico which is a collection of images from the British Library’s collection of 20 painted books that go back thousands of years before the Spanish Conquest. The paintings in there are exquisite and back when I bought it, I was totally engrossed. Reg came from that book. I felt he needed a colour change. Do you like the change or prefer the old one?
Another drawing that comes from 'Painted Books from Mexico' is Maya’s Tree. It comes from drawing I made for an installation I was commissioned to create for the 2008 Boom festival in Portugal. Much of the installation comes from drawings taken from 'Painted Books from Mexico'.
It took me a few days to get it all the sticker designs print ready. Now that they are, I am waiting for the right time to launch the crowdfunding campaign and bring them into reality. If you have any tips on crowdfunding campaigns, I’m all ears. And if you want to help bring them into existence then join my mailing list and I'll let you know when I launch the campaign. Here are the sticker designs.
A friend of mine asked me to do a piece for him. He wanted to help out his artist friends in this difficult time. A beautiful gesture. I’d been doing some sketches for a painting that I thought would also look great in Derwent’s Inktense coloured pencils. I have dabbled in the Inktense pencils but not really used them much and I wanted to get to know them and I felt this was the perfect opportunity to do that. It was a wonderful journey and I learnt a lot from the experience. I made a time lapse video of the making of the Weechee.