all words and artwork, ©Derek Collins. If you would like to get in touch with Derek, please email us.
“My name is John Jennings. I am a practising painter, I live in south west London with my wife and art has been my life since the age of fifteen, although I have remained on the margins of the art world.
I scored a mental health double whammy, having had a sister with paranoid schizophrenia, during my childhood and teenage years, and then myself being diagnosed with manic depressive disorder in my early thirties. I have been in continuous treatment since. My experiences of living with mental health in the home, as a child, and, later, in the community have been painful and isolating.
I joined Outside In in 2012 which was a lifeline. They provided me with an online gallery, and opportunities to show some of my work in public through Bobby Baker’s Daily Life Ltd light box shows in 2014 and 2016. I have also taken part in several `In Practise’ slide shows through the RA Access programme. I also became an art workshop facilitator with Outside In and have done workshops in Chichester and London.
I don’t identify myself as an `outsider artist’, I did a fine art degree in my late thirties, but I am an `outsider’ who is obsessively driven to paint.
I am a colourist and I love paint. For me, colour and paint goes beyond words in expressing life. I hope you enjoy my paintings, the ones shown here represent some current work from 2013 to the present.”
What: Visual Art Exhibition
Where: Proteus Creation Space
From the 30th November to the 4th December, artist Laura Greenway will be showcasing her latest body of work in her debut solo show entitled ‘Streams of consciousness’. Drawing inspiration from her own experiences of mental illness, the exhibition aims to raise awareness of psychiatric illnesses such as OCD, psychosis and depression.
Streams of consciousness, whilst primarily a display of contemporary painting, boasts an amalgamation of disciplines ranging from watercolour to collage and built up textured pieces. Examining concepts of colour theory in relation to emotion, the show intends to create a dialogue about mental health, starting conversations about illness and in turn helping to reduce the stigma that can so often surround sufferers of mental health problems. Laura works completely in abstract, allowing her emotions to spill freely onto the canvas, capturing her daily struggles through gestural brush marks and leaving each piece open to interpretation.
Held at Basingstoke’s Proteus Creation Space, who have been incredibly helpful and generous in assisting with hosting the show, the exhibition is suitable for all ages and is free to attend. Most of the works on display will be for sale in order to raise money for mental illness with 25% of all sales being donated to mental health charity SANE. The artist describes the exhibition as ‘a documentation of mental distress and wellness through the medium of paint’, making it an exhibition not to be missed by those interested in psychoanalysis, mental health and the human condition – this compelling show will leave you both informed and curious to find out more.
“I have suffered depression and anxiety disorders for 16 years which have worsened in the last 5 years leading to loss of my job and confidence. After attending a depression treatment centre 3 years ago I had the chance to do a couple of art therapy sessions which I enjoyed. Since then I have been interested in abstract art and have continued to paint finding it to be a good coping strategy. I find abstract helpful as I can paint without a plan or rules.”