I would like to introduce myself as a 33 year old local Middlesbrough artist, a wife and a mother to 6 beautiful children. My children inspire me every day with my art, as nothing in the world could compare to making my children proud of me.
What does Middlesbrough mean to you?
Middlesbrough means alot to me, both of my parents were not from Middlesbrough,nor were my grandparents. But they settled here. I was born here and I’ve spent all my life here. I’m very proud to call myself a ‘Smoggy’ Growing up I lived in Grovehill everyone knew each other there. You couldn’t go out and misbehave or the woman on the end would poke her head out of the window (no matter which road you were on at the time) and shout “get round yer own end! I know ya mam!” As the saying goes, ‘home is where the heart is’
Whats the story behind you becoming artist?
The story behind me becoming an artist I would say stemmed from childhood. Growing up I had to deal with a lot and I found that art really helped me get through these difficult times. As a child I would sit in my bedroom a lot and draw things from my head and also items around the house, I would also write a lot of poetry and stories on my type writer. I think art to me is my therapy, if every iv had a bad day or I’m feeling just not myself, my art is my way of expressing myself and is a release for me, a sense of achievement. I attended Beechwood junior school and my year 6 teacher Mr Fleming had a huge impact on me, even though I could often be difficult he always believed in me and taught me so much about believing in myself. In my secondary school I would often get into trouble sitting in science and math too busy to learn as I would be drawing my friends and sketching instead. I excelled in my art class which was my favorite subject.
What the response you had form people in Teesside from your Art Work ?
I’ve had such a positive reaction from people in Middlesbrough. It makes me do proud to be from Teesside. It’s not just about being an artist for me, it’s about bring a teeside artist. In my heart that makes all the difference, being able to represent Teeside through my art means everything. I’ve drawn a portrait of Roy Chubby Brown he kindly signed it for me.i then raffled it raising over £500 for the neonatal unit in Jamescook, a cause very close to my heart. My daughter Rosie spent her first few months fighting for her life in the neonatal unit and I cannot thank them enough for what they did for her, she is now 11 she has autism and hydrocephalus and is visually impaired although some things can be a struggle for her she never lets her disabilities get her down. I’ve also drawn a portrait of McKenzie Thorpe I gifted it to him, he was over the moon with the drawing and said it looks just like him. That meant so much to me, he is a role model of mine, I’m a huge fan of his work to be able to gift him a piece of my work meant a lot. I’ve drawn a pencil portrait of Bernie Slaven too, he signed it and raffled it at the beechwood and easterside social club. I decided to do a pencil portrait of Alistair Brownlee too. He was such a well loved man in Middlesbrough and I wanted to give something back. I gifted the original drawing to his lovely wife Wendy it really meant a lot to Wendy and her family to have the portrait. I then used some of the prints with Wendy’s blessing to raise some money for Zoe’s Place. I also used my art to raise money for the homeless cafe. For me I would like my art to make a positive difference in the world, it means so much to me that other people get to see and appreciate my art. I think if you have the capability of making a difference you should. That’s what I’ve always hoped my art could do.
What’s your message to someone from Teesside who’s thinking of getting into art or becoming artist ?
My message to another artist starting out would be, absolutely believe in yourself you are good enough. Never give up no matter how many hurdles you may cross getting passed them will only improve your art. Always do your art straight from your heart, to me that always means more. If its something you believe in or feel strongly about if it’s from the heart you’re always being true to yourself.
What would you say to people who believe there isn’t a art scene within Teesside ?
I would say that is not true, it’s not about where you are born it’s the talent that you hold in your heart that makes you an artist. If you want it enough you have to go out and get it and be seen. To me I think Teesside makes fantastic artists because of where we live I think Teesside has community spirit and a sense of togetherness. Us teesiders are down to eaty no matter which part of TeeSside we’re from. For myself living in Grovehill as a child and going through experiences that I have has most definitely shaped me into the artist I am today.