I have always had a passion for art; I remember in Nursery the teacher praising me for being the only person to draw a body on my ‘person’, instead of just drawing lines out of the ball which was the head. I remember my teacher in Year 2 sitting everyone down to show them my colouring and how pleased she was with it. In Year 6, I drew a pencil puppy and received the same level of awe. As I grew older, my mum would ask me to draw and colour life-size cartoons on lining paper for her to cut out and take to work for her team’s Christmas competition entry.
In high school, I became enthralled with the subject as a whole and remember it being the only option I was certain of taking, though I was a little sad that it collided with my other passion, History. In Year 10, whilst on my work experience, I received a telephone call from my Art teacher who advised me I had won a recent competition hosted by local artist, Harold Riley, where we were to draw our hairdresser’s shop. I chose to draw mine in pen and ink. My piece was exhibited in Salford Art Gallery and I was among only a few to receive a ‘Highly Commended’ award. This was the proudest moment of my life so far. Harold Riley was a fantastic man to have met and, whilst I didn’t actually end up going to South Africa (as was intended as part of the prize), I was lucky enough to meet some of the South African children who had also won as well as the artist, Chinwe, and attended her exhibition of her painting of the Queen. I later achieved an A* for my work in my GCSEs. Whilst I wanted to achieve good results all round, this was the only one I truly cared about.
After school, I went on to study a BTEC in Art & Design at college. I thoroughly enjoyed certain parts of the subject, however, I quickly realised I enjoyed working in 2D only and was disappointed when informed the second year would be more graphic-based learning. I left college after my first year, achieving a B for the whole course, which I did not think too bad overall, and lost my way for my love of art due to my focus lying elsewhere at this point.
Fast-forward a few years and here I am; re-awakened and ready to embrace my missed opportunities with open arms. I believe several factors have led me back onto this path – my younger brother graduating and my overwhelming pride in him, but also my sadness that it would never be me, and my 11-year-old daughter showing a natural flair and passion for art too. My three year old also shows good prospects of skill in this area too after recently drawing a character from one of her favourite books just with circles of prominent colour from each part of the character’s body. I couldn’t be any prouder of them both, but it got me to thinking that I want them to know where their talent comes from and show them that anything is possible when you put your mind to it and, also, that it doesn’t matter whether you do things in the ‘correct’ way in life, or even if you do them at all, but that it is ‘highly commendable’ if, and when, you do.