Diary… How I made sense of the horrible thing, and other stories

It might be art, it might not be. Who cares?

Tuesday 10 March, London

📌 Before my brain injury I had no artistic urges. Now you can’t stop me. But is what I do of any use to anyone but me? Is it even art? I don’t see it that way myself. I just call myself a picture-maker.

I see all of my pictures as an attempt to make sense of the horrible thing that happened to me. I started making them when I first joined Headway East London as a member back in 2013.

As time’s gone on, new projects and opportunities brought new pictures. Few of them fall into a category anyone would call art. I do them for my own satisfaction or because I have something to say.

Now, more than seven years after the trauma of my brain injury, the series of five pictures I made to help me understand what happened to me sit somewhere in the back of Headway’s Submit To Love art studio.

I dug out copies of them today because yesterday I was interviewed by a physiotherapist for a podcast about my stroke.

We talked about my rehabilitation afterwards and how I taught myself to set goals on the “journey” to recovery.

When I made the images below I broke that journey down into five easily-understood “chapters”, each with a one-word title about how I saw myself at the time.

Together they tell a story. And that was the idea. Each includes handwritten text in ‘my voice’. It was a habit started then that hasn’t left me. The need to be heard, I suppose.

I still include text in all of my pictures. Maybe I will always need to explain myself to myself.

Whether these images can be called art, I can’t say, and I don’t really care.

I have no idea what art is. I just know that making pictures makes me feel better.

⬇️ Screenshots of all five pictures, in chronological order of both experience and creation. The printed text, left, shows the illegible hand-written words on the image, right.

📌 With all the health panic around Coronavirus and the moral panic that’s gone viral in Britain, you don’t need much of an excuse to stay indoors. My wife decided she’ll not give in and boldly went out. I stayed put.

📌 The Morning Star today tells us that Wilko, where we get our cheap light bulbs, is cutting workers’ sick pay, making it impossible for them to “self-isolate” should they become ill.

This, along with the news that yesterday, March 9, was dubbed Black Monday because of the drastic fall in the performance of the stock market, shows that Capitalism big and small is just as likely to be laid low by a health scare as an economic challenge to its validity.

📌 Katie is pleased with the blog post I did about our podcast session yesterday. Let’s hope she shares it and my site stats get a boost.

📌 Demonstrated the Poundland Portrait wax monoprint workshop to Madhumita and she booked me for a gig on June 2. 

The Poundland coloured crayons are not the best medium to use. They are really weak and leave lots of residue. Oil pastels work better, but I’m not sure Poundland still sells them, in which case I’ll need to source a cheap alternative.

An early effort by me…

We decided that the Mona Lisa is a good subject for the first workshop. That way I can talk about Leonardo da Vinci and ask questions about his most famous painting. It will spark a conversation, hopefully, though I suspect a few self-important know-alls in the group will make the most noise.

I’ll just try to ignore them and work with the quiet people. It will be a test of my patience.

Pop Quiz… Name that Tune
“And I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
or driven to its knees”

TITLE …………………………..

ARTIST …………………………

📝 Read yesterday’s diary.

🎧 Pop Quiz awswer here.