Charting an Unconventional Art Journey

In 1993, at seventeen, I embarked on a transformative artistic journey. My path began in Southport, a tranquil coastal town in Northwest UK, where I initiated my fine arts adventure. My narrative is woven with family anecdotes, a lack of traditional qualifications, and an ongoing battle with inner demons.

Transitioning to the University Canvas

After a year in Southport, my fine arts degree led me to Liverpool John Moores University. Here, I discovered a fresh canvas to express my unconventional spirit.

Embracing Unconventionality

University life had its charm. Education offered me a way out of a challenging past, and I eagerly engaged with intellectual peers.

A Journey of Self-Worth and Resilience

I realized early on that becoming a commercial artist wasn’t a realistic path for me, given my lack of financial support and resources. Instead, I embraced the course as a means to boost my self-worth. My confidence had been battered by years of people putting me down and telling me I was inadequate, compounded by the harrowing experiences I had faced as a child.

Navigating Contradictory Feedback

My professors noticed my financial struggles, but their advice often felt like a spinning top, making navigating difficult. It seemed that my feedback was sometimes not taken seriously. I couldn’t help but feel I was there to pay someone’s wage, being young and lacking important contacts. I didn’t fit the stereotypical image of wealth, which may have led them to believe they needn’t invest much effort in my artistic growth.

Learning Self-Love

The course gave me the precious time to learn about self-love, a journey vital before you can truly love others. It was a process of self-discovery that nurtured my soul, allowing me to heal and flourish.

Questioning the Rules of Art

The course adhered to the conventional rule that an artist should draw and sketch ideas within a sketchbook and then transfer this to canvas. The pressure to find one’s style or to join a group of artists who all conform to a specific art form puzzled me. I couldn’t help but wonder where these rules originated.

Art as a Marketable Commodity

As I delved deeper into the course, it aimed to mould artists into tools for creating easily marketable art. Placing art into neatly defined boxes and labelling it for mass consumption felt stifling. The repetitive nature of creating the same type of art until it became a marketable commodity left me unfulfilled. It was not the artistic path I envisioned from the beginning.

Embracing Artistic Versatility

During my time on the course, I could experiment with various artistic forms. I ventured into oil paintings, explored photography, dabbled in sculpture, and embraced the challenge of installations. It was an artistic odyssey where I refused to be confined to a single medium.

Seeking Inspiration in the Unconventional

Inspiration came from artists like Andy Warhol, who challenged conventional notions by involving other artists, and the Surrealists, who saw art as a means to explore philosophy and politics. These rebels used art as a platform for self-expression, a far cry from the stifling confines of a course that aimed to mould me into a commercial entity.

Youthful Oversights

Like a typical teenager, I didn’t always preserve my work. I neglected to capture photographs of many pieces and lost some of my early creations in the hustle and bustle of moving houses.

Embrace Your Unconventional Path

As you embark on your artistic journey, remember, “Art is what you make of it.” Don’t be swayed by those who say otherwise. Stay true to your unique path, marked by determination and a touch of rebellion.

Warm Regards,


This article was crafted with the aid of Chat GPT, an AI language model, to ensure clarity and effective communication.