It was when my mother told me I would never be an artist , I could only copy , when I showed her a fairly competent drawing at the age of eight, that it was set that anger would be my creative fuel further down the road of life. I would be the only pupil at secondary school banned ( by arrangement by my mother) from doing compulsory art , and would then go on to have my funding pulled , resulting in having to leave my art college education half way into my second year. My tutors wanted me to sue my mother so I could finish my education. But my mother was no ordinary mother so I took it as a sign she was right: no point. I was never going to be an artist.
I went on to marry an artist who I met at a neighbouring art school and settled down to the challenges of parenthood fairly soon after. This was comforting for me as it distanced me from a turbulent time in my recent past , having survived being groomed and abused by a paedophile and consequently going on to be used as a fuck toy by many men. To be in a marriage told me I had worth as at this phase of my life, I knew my worth was gained through male approval. Being busy as a mother kept me from going to dark places. I made soft sculptures as I couldn’t paint ( because kids ). That artist in me just wouldn’t listen to sense. She kept insisting on raising her annoying head and teasing me. Instead of being an artist , I became a children’s entertainer/puppeteer, running my own successful puppet business. I told myself I was still creative. After sixteen years , in 2000, instead of the Millenium bug ending the world, my marriage and consequently my world ended .
I had a breakdown , now I look back , I can see it clearly. Abusive relationships, having my nose broken, running outside naked hiding from the cars… yes, I vaguely remember it. My children kept me just this side of being sectioned. I knew I had to hold it together for them.
13 years later I found myself sitting on a stool being interviewed on camera for StyleLikeU
removing layers of clothing and stripping back layers of emotional baggage, revealing my most inner thoughts and memories. The first question: What does your style say about you?
I answered: I’m an artist.
You see, I made it here. I allowed the artist in me to come out and thrive. The death of my beloved father was the moment that knew I had to do it now. I had to live authentically because otherwise I would die with regret.
Working out my mother was a narcissist and could not see me for who I was , just as competition , allowed me to quiet the voice in my head that I would never be an artist. That was her fear, not my reality. I didn’t feel loved by her not because I was unloveable, but because she couldn’t love. Things then fell into place. I found feminism,(or did it find me?) and it gave me a structure and a passion that fuels my artistic vision.
I am now an artist . Strike that, I have always been one.