In 2016, I was a very lucky artist. I got to spend six weeks with the East London branch of Headway, a charity that helps brain injury survivors to rehabilitate. The East London branch do this by providing an art studio called ‘Submit to Love’ where those who have sustained a brain injury can develop an art practice.
‘Like an Orange’ is about the people I met at the studio. It’s a collection of stories that came about as I got to know them, chatting over paper and Tosca pens. Some are about life with brain injury and some aren’t. What really makes this project special is that I will be incorporating their artwork into the comic too, making this an unusually collaborative, as well as literally inspired, piece.
My experiences with the people I met at the studio had a profound effect on me. Namely, it led me to reflect on the dynamic between memory and identity, and how we are each individual units while at the same time undoubtedly connected to each other in myriad ways – rather like the wiring of the brain itself. As such, it feels natural to me (especially as I am an autobiographical comics artist), to relate the stories of the people I met there with reflections of my own past. This at once acknowledges the fact that stories can only be told through one’s own point of view, while at the same time exploring how we are all connected.
The title of the book, Like an Orange, comes from conversations a couple of the artists had with their surgeons, who described the brain in those terms – like an orange. This resonated with me on a serendipitous level, as I remembered the first painting I ever did, as a very little girl, where I was determined that the whole thing should be entirely orange!
Overall, I want the book to capture the individual stories, my experience of meeting everyone there, the positivity of the studio, and how we connect through words, language, experience, art and creativity.
You know when you get your heart set on something and you just do it even though you know you're probably making loads of extra work for yourself? I've done that. I really REALLY wanted to use the lyrics of one verse of Phil Oakey and Giorgio Moroder's 'Together in Electric Dreams' for a page as part of Tirzeh's story. Once, while we were all in 'Submit to Love' studio, the song came…
Just a quick one to let you know that there is a new pledge level available for a limited time, and there are only 3 available.
Headway have kindly donated tickets to their Supper Club on the 3rd May, which means you can meet some of the artists I worked with while eating delicious food they'd have made just for you, plus entertainments!
A link with more information about it is…
I LOVE WORKING ON THIS!!
Yes, I do. The infectious joy of Submit to Love studio is alive and well in my memory bones. But I'll be honest, there can sometimes be an element of anxiety involved. The other day I saw a tweet where someone had retweeted the BBC about the paralympics, and they'd written 'Disabled people don't exist to be your inspiration', and I must admit, I felt…
Hello one and all
It is said that the forging of connections plays a powerful role in creativity and memory. One of the main themes of ‘Like an Orange’ is connectivity, within and with each other. So in keeping with this, I’d like to share with you today how I came to decide what to write for this very update – it’s a perfect example of my neurons having a chat!
As I sat here, having a think…
Hello Orange Likers
Just a quick one this week as I've mainly been going to meetings and doing funding applications, that kind of thing. Meetings - very exciting, funding applications - oof. So, no real new work apart from this mash up. Anyone familiar with my drawings of the Submit to Love studio will recognise many of the components to this piece. I love the atmosphere when everyone's immersed…
Happy New Year one and all, and a warm welcome to all new supporters!
The work-in-progress I'm going to share with you today includes a thought bubble with part of the Submit to Love studio logo inside it. It's of my first journey to the studio, so I was full of anticipation and thinking of nothing but.
I think I'm probably going to have most thought bubbles throughout the book…
Welcome new supporters, and thank you to everyone for your ongoing support.
And so it begins...I have been busy thumbnailing the first part of the book, and because I got impatient, I started some of the artwork too. 'Like an Orange' begins with my first journey to Headway, and exploring the fact that when we remember something, we do so with the knowledge of what has happened…
First of all I'd like to say a massive thank you to all my new backers since my last update - welcome! It is so encouraging whenever I see I have a new supporter and it spurs me ever further on. Your generosity is much appreciated. Also, another big thank you to everyone who tweets and retweets. Being human and 50/50 extrovert/introvert I always have a certain amount of anxiety when hitting…
First of all, I'd like to say a great big thank you to Philip Chimes for making such a generous pledge, I am thrilled that he is now a Patron for Like an Orange. I met Philip at Headway during my residency and we really hit it off. He laughed heartily at my silly tales of woe on previous residencies, and I was fascinated by how he approached his artistic practice and related it to…
Peeled or cut? As marmalade? With a vodka?
Two weeks in and I'm thrilled with the support I've received so far. Everytime a pledge comes in I do a little skip in my seat, and feel a mixture of humbled and excited!
If you'd like to add to my humility and excitement by making a pledge, that would be wonderful! Not only will the final book be coming your way in either…
These people are helping to fund Like an Orange.