Category Archives: Drawing

The Inner Self: Drawings from the Subconscious at CGP London

Nick Blinko

‘The Inner Self: Drawings from the Subconscious’ is a group show of the work of seven Outside In artists all living within Greater London and working on the theme of the subconscious. Predominantly black and white in colour and using drawing as the primary medium, the works were selected from 154 submissions to Outside In’s open call out earlier in the year.

The selectors included CGP London Director Ron Henocq; Vivienne Roberts, Curator at the Julian Hartnoll Gallery; Outsider Artist Nick Blinko; and Outside In Manager Jennifer Gilbert. From these seven artists, one will be selected by Vivienne Roberts to receive a solo show at the Julian Hartnoll Gallery in Central London in November 2014. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events, talks and workshops organised by Outside In and its London partner organisations.

Work by the Outside In artists will sit alongside Outsider Artist Nick Blinko’s minutely detailed monochrome pieces. Macabre and intense; Nick’s images depict microscopically detailed interconnecting worlds and figures such as skulls, broken dolls, imps, foetuses and precisely handwritten notes. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events, talks and workshops organised by Outside In’s partners.

The artists exhibiting are:
Jan Arden
Wrestling with the Bull
From an early age, Jan liked to copy cartoons and comic book characters before moving on to still life and portraits in secondary school. For many years he studied mime, dance, singing and drama before coming back to drawing and painting in 2009. Jan likes to combine Celtic knot-work with African faces and South American Shamanistic Aztec priests, people, animals, symbols and shapes. He creates what he sees on the paper after moving the biro in dance like movements, eyes closed and reaching into the subconscious for inspiration and guidance.

Imma Maddox
Imma is predominantly a textile artist, as well as being a survivor of mental illness. Alongside her drawings such as ‘Foot’, Imma creates icons, which she has been painting for about fifteen years. For these, she uses traditional methods dating back to Roman times.

Nigel Kingsbury
Nigel’s fine, delicate portraits depict women as mystical goddesses attired in glamorous ball gowns, decadent outfits and floating dresses. Each picture is unique, sometimes drawn from memory, sometimes of those in close proximity, but always of women he likes and is inspired by. This fascination with the female form inspires Nigel to create drawings with a frequently mysterious and eerie quality, although his idolisation of the figure in such a rare and carefully observed manner is far removed from contemporary issues of gender stereotyping.

Hannah Swain
Hannah was diagnosed with Bipolar at the age of 50 after the death of her mother. She began creating her works during her time in hospital, producing images of angels that embodied her mother, keeping her memories alive.

Billy Weston
Billy Nut
At the age of 14, Billy had a brain haemorrhage which resulted in the loss of his drawing right hand. He never regained the use of his right side, but relearned his natural artistic talent through his left hand. Since then, Billy has carried notebooks with him, drawing and painting life as it goes through his head.

Pat Mear
Feeling Water
Pat has specialised in fine art painting as a result of attending Croydon College of Art in the 1960s-70s but has since moved away from original hard-edged brainwork towards more intuitive work. Her other works include fine line Indian ink animal drawings as well as an exploration of imaginary landscapes on cork; an environmentally renewable source.

Terence Wilde
Definitions of Normal
Terence studied printed textiles at Winchester School of Art, graduating in 1986 with a First Class Degree. Creativity is a visual language that helps convey a sense of history and the reality of the past for himself and other adult survivors. It offers respite through escape, and is key in his spiritual journey. He currently works as an art and textiles instructor within the Occupational Therapy department at the Bethlem Royal Hospital.

CGP London – Southwark Park – London – SE16 2UA
Tel: +44 (0)20 7237 1230

Opening times:
Wed – Sun, 11am – 5pm

Transport information:
Southwark Park is approximately 9 minutes walk from Canada Water station on the Jubilee & London Overground lines. Buses 1, 47, 188, 199, 225, 381, 395, P12, C10.

Madge Gill Panel Discussion

Art from the Margins has notified me that a panel discussion on the life of Madge Gill has been uploaded to youtube.

From AFTM:
“Chaired By David O Flynn from Bethlem Hospital, and featuring Roger Cardinal, the coiner of the term Outsider Art, as well as Vivienne Roberts who researched into the mediumistic side of art for the retrospective. Reflecting on her work is the main focus of the discussion, as well as Outsider Art more broadly.”


“Hello. My name is Edward and I hate myself. Don’t worry, it’s nothing you’ve said or done. I always have done. I always will. I am a hateful person. The fact that other people don’t seem to hate me just makes me hate myself more. Self-loathing is my most loyal lifetime companion.

Sometimes it’s a good thing. Keeps you on the straight and narrow. Makes you respectful and mindful of other people’s feelings. Sometimes it’s the grit in the oyster that makes a pearl. Sometimes it makes me funny, because there’s only so much hatred of yourself you can contain before you have to start radiating it outwards. The other option is that you just let it destroy you. I’m not about to do that. I hate myself too much to let myself off lightly.

I have suffered with depression pretty much my entire adult life, and been treated and medicated for it for much of that time. The current drug that I am on, Sertraline, is very good in many ways. It tackles the anxiety which made me completely unable to function in any way. It’s made me more friendly and open as a result. In short, it’s given me all the tools I need to go the final few yards.

The final few yards are always the hardest, though. My cancerous self-loathing is so malign and insistent that it chewed CBT up and spat it out. It’s not something which wants to be reasoned with by my conscious self.

A lot of people have noted how cutesy, happy and child-friendly my art is. This surprises many people who know me who maybe expect a screaming black hole of darkness. All I can say is, that’s just the way it emerges. Pretty much all of it comes from my subconscious and based on what LOOKS RIGHT to me. I’m not a talented enough artist to make anything do my specific bidding, so it is what it is. I think if you look at a lot of my work again though, and just scratch the surface just right, you can see glimpses of the horrors.

I don’t want to come across like Brian Topp from Spaced, painting fear, terror and loathing. But I know that it must be in there. My art offers me hope too, though, because there’s also much in the way of happiness, positivity and humanity on display as well and that means that that must be in there too.

At the moment, though, I still hate myself. And, for the record, I hate this picture. How do you do?”

If you would like to see more of Edward’s work, please click here.

Sylvia Plath: Her Drawings

Currently on at the Mayor Gallery is an exhibition of Sylvia Plath’s black and white illustrations called ‘Her Drawings’. The exhibition features beautiful line drawings of countryside, meticulously detailed scenes of sailing boats and pots and pans as well as pretty little subjects like flowers and conkers.

It is well known that as Plath and Ted Hughes travelled around they both sketched. I’ve seen some of her drawings in biographies and other books but this is the first time the collection of drawings, done whilst on Honeymoon with Hughes in 1956, have ever been shown.

The drawings are all on sale with only 4 of 59 remaining unsold. A friend recently went to the exhibition and made the point that while it is not groundbreaking art, the work is very interesting and important, but more than anything it is your last chance to see the collection before it is sold off to various buyers and split up.

Sylvia Plath would have been 79 this year had she not taken her own life in 1963.

‘Her Drawings’ runs from November 2 until December 16 2011.

Chato B. Stewart

“Chato Stewart is a husband, father and mental health advocate. He is an artist and the cartoonist behind the Mental Health Humor cartoons. He creates positive, provoking, and sometimes even funny cartoons! The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with Bipolar Disorder. Mr. Chato Stewart strongly believes that there is power behind humor. His motto is humor gives help, hope and healing. His goal and mission is to tap into humor and use it as a positive tool to cope with the serious and debilitating effects of mental illness.

Chato started blogging in 2008 as part of his Mental Health Humor Project. His cartoons have been used by many in the mental health community. Currently he is blogging on Psych Central Network and BP Hope Magazine offerering his Words of The Wisdomless.

Chato B. Stewart is a Florida board Certified Recovery Peer Specialist – A (CRPS-A) and NAMI member. Chato is also the 1st place winner of the DBSA 2009 Facing Us Video Contest. In his powerful public service announcement, he tells his personal story of living with a mental illness through a montage of his cartoons. Adding to his little list of accomplishments is being part of the 2010 DBSA Stand-Up for Mental Health comedy night and being invited back for the 2011 Conference to be a Stand-Up comic in the show.”
-text taken from

Martin Ramirez.

“Martín Ramírez (1895–1963) created nearly 300 drawings of remarkable visual clarity and expressive power within the confines of DeWitt State Hospital in northern California, where he resided the last 15 years of his life. Ramírez has been codified primarily as a “schizophrenic artist”; this project goes beyond the boundaries of Ramirez’s diagnosis of mental illness and considers the artistic quality and merit of his artwork. In this way, Ramirez’s works are understood—and appreciated—for the complex, multilayered drawings that they are. “Martin Ramirez,” the first major retrospective of the self-taught master in more than 20 years, features approximately 97 works on paper and is accompanied by a full-color catalog.”
-Brooke Davis Anderson, curator of the 2007 exhibition ‘Martin Ramirez’ at the American Folk Art Museum

For more information on the exhibition and Ramirez’s work please visit the American Folk Art Museum.

SMHAFF Workshop, Edinburgh.

It’s a relief it’s over. Only because I thought I would be rubbish at conducting the workshop. But as it turns out it went really blooming well.

On Saturday 8th October I ran a workshop as part of the Scottish Mental Health Art and Film Festival in Edinburgh. The workshop was predominantly for mental health service users, however anyone was invited to take part. After a brief (and very nervous) ramble about who I am and what I do, I led the class in an illustration workshop. And boy, did they work hard. Three solid hours of drawing!

The idea behind the workshop is to illustrate a day in the life of a mental health service user. It doesn’t have to be a generic day, and it doesn’t have to involve waking up and getting dressed…it doesn’t have to be literal. I wanted it to be a memory, or a feeling, it could be an abstract piece of work that does not stick to the lines of the comic strip. It can be colours or words or shapes. Or it can just be a stickman and it can just be a boring day. It’s about what you feel, how you feel being a mental health service user. And a person.

I took a whole load of materials up from London (in the heaviest bag known to man) so everyone could have a go using different pens, inks and paints. As well as a massive stash of pencil crayons and brush pens the artists got to try out dip pens, acrylic inks, marker pens, charcoal and pastel crayons as well as using mixed media such as collage.

Ultimately I would like to publish a graphic novel of collected strips from mental health service users. If this is something you would like to be involved in, please get in touch.

Some photos of what we completed at the workshop follow. If you would like to see all the photos from the day, including some of the exhibitions installed at the same venue, please click here and scroll through pictures to the right.

Nuo Liu.

Nuo Liu is an illustrator and artist (hurrah, like me!) from California. I’m really glad to receive a submission from her as she has lived with an eating disorder and I would really like to help others get their voice heard about just what it is like living with an eating disorder. Eating disorders are often badly misunderstood and the actions of those suffering from eating disorders are usually misinterpreted. Eating disorders, whether it’s Anorexia, Bulimia, Compulsive Over-eating or EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified), are crippling, mentally exhausting conditions and your heart should go out to sufferers. And please don’t think it’s ever a case of eating more or less. It’s really not.

“After going through depression and dealing with an eating disorder,  I have been able to use art to capture my thoughts in a healthy way. This drawing expresses what went on in my head when I was struggling with Anorexia. These type of thoughts still occur once in a while, but that is when I truly fight to forget them and do something positive such as art. Seeing a counselor and seeking accountability has also been a great tribute to my recovery. I hope to inspire others to do the same. I am an artist from Los Angeles and you can see more of my drawings at”


Hello dear readers. I’m extra excited about today’s entry as I have been nagging this contributor to send me work for a while, I had only seen one piece and I knew it was going to be great. I’m also biased because I’m an illustrator as well as an artist so to see some drawing come our way was very good. In my drawing I always try to remember to add something interesting and challenging, and although I don’t always remember to use this trick, I’m a great fan of distorted angles and points of view, something that Lis has employed in the third picture down. She has also used colour in an interesting way.

Here are some words and pictures from Lis to you…

“I’m Lis, 26 years old and have bipolar disorder.
I find illustrating is an outlet for me, even if the finished work ends up in the bin!

I draw from life and photography, but always draw people. People have always fascinated me. I love sketching faces. Different expressions, poses, individuality. Ask me to draw a landscape and I will look at you like you have gone mad!

Most of my work has been done whilst in an ‘up’ mood, I rarely draw whilst stable or depressed. Due to that I have a bit of a love hate relationship with art, I’ll feel compelled to create something yet will hate sitting still for too long in order to create it, hence all my work is done in a hurry.”