Nearly nine years ago I was on holiday with my mates to celebrate the end of our AS exams.
On the fifth day of our holiday surrounded by incredible friends on a hot beautiful beach with blue sky and laughter all around I did something I have my whole life when by the sea. I ran down the beach and into the sea to a good depth and dived forward. I hit my head on the undulating sea bed and dislocated the fourth vertebrae in my neck leaving me unable to move anything from my neck down.
After three weeks in hospital in Portugal I then spent six months in hospital in England fighting from learning how to breathe again to getting as strong and as healthy as possible. During this time I gave up a lot of things, including my love of art.
My life was turned upside down but at some point you just have to let go of what you thought should happen and live in what is happening…
Recently I rediscovered my love and joy of art. I’ve always loved drawing and painting but I let that love to create drift away after my accident.
In January 2015 I had an illness that meant I was bed bound for a few weeks.
I was getting rather bored and found an app on my iPad that I could use for drawing by holding a stylus in my mouth and touching the screen. I loved it.
When my health had improved I was able to get it of bed and I taught myself how to draw and paint with actual pencils and paint by attaching the utensils to a mouth stick. I’ve opened up a thoroughly enjoyable new chapter in my life.
It’s funny but without that illness I would never have have rediscovered my love for drawing, painting and creating. Adversity has given me a gift.
I may not be able to use my hands to do any of work but sometimes you just have to adapt to life’s challenges.
The subjects of my work consist of those who have inspired me for a long time, those who have played big parts in my life over the last six years, those that have inspired me more recently and some are pieces that I have been very proud to be commissioned to create. I have moved onto subjects that now challenge me more and push me to create my own style.
I love the challenge of being able to pick a subject and try to recreate it in my own style. With a pencil I can add a lot of detail and with paint I can try bring a picture to life.
I try and do justice to anyone or anything that I draw or paint.
My rediscovered joy for art has given me so much. I was commissioned by The Times to produce a piece for the front cover of their first rugby World Cup supplement. It’s given me the opportunity to host my own exhibition. And when I was lying in my hospital bed six years years ago no one, not even me, expected I’d be here doing anything like this.
After my accident I thought so many doors had been shut. In fact it’s opened so many more.
If it wasn’t for the accident then I’d probably be leading a very boring life at the moment. Adversity has given me a gift.
I once read, “What the caterpillar perceives as the end, to the butterfly is just the beginning”