A collaborative graphic novel about brain injury survivors incorporating their words and pictures.
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.
Orange tights and watercolours
Friday, 12 April 2019
Long time no update; I hope you are all well!
I was hoping that when I write again, it would be with the fantastic news that I got the Arts Council funding I had applied for (for the fourth time) to work on ‘Like an Orange’, but alas it didn’t happen. ACE are great in that they always give you feedback as to why they made their decision, and this time it was simply because…
The Circle of Wallis
Sunday, 6 January 2019
Hello everyone, happy hibernation to you!
Christmas was a dark dwelling in the caverns of my mind while being in the extended womb of my mother's front room. Perhaps it’s because I’m in the relative new comfort of middle age that I didn’t resist. Instead, as my eyes rested on the flickering telly acting as fire, I followed these inward recesses lined with emblems of fear, anxieties, and…
Call out for a brain forum
Wednesday, 7 November 2018
Just a quick one this week, asking bit of a favour. Do you or anyone you know study brain sciences? Or belong to some kind of group related to that field? I would love to offer a presentation and workshop on 'Like an Orange' as part of my development as well as to raise awareness of the project.
Any ideas, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks and keep it orange…
Metal to Matter
Tuesday, 16 October 2018
Hello everyone, and welcome to new supporters!
LIKE BEGETS LIKE
An old witchy-ism that I think of often, which is of course apt for October. I have been reminded of it rather fruitfully already this month (orange flavoured of course, in disguise as pumpkin), when I was incredibly lucky to be broom-sticked away on an artist’s retreat in Southend, courtesy of the arts organisation, Metal…
Thursday, 20 September 2018
The orange of the summer sun is now setting into the trees to tint the leaves before they fall. I do love autumn so!
I hope you are all well and as hopelessly excited about all the colours we get to see at this time of year as I am. I’m particularly looking forward to working on ‘Like an Orange’ as the season gets going whilst in Essex! I was thrilled last week to be informed…
Recommend a friend offer
Tuesday, 28 August 2018
Thank you so much for bearing with me! I spent this summer working exclusively on a different project, producing a 56 page comic and my first ever solo exhibition. These were the result of a residency at my local amateur boxing club in New Cross, London, interviewing members about how boxing has changed their lives and the importance of community. For more on this project…
Like a BOX of oranges
Thursday, 26 July 2018
So sorry I haven't been in touch for a while, I've been all hands on deck with a different project that's taking all my time. I'm doing a residency in my local boxing club in Deptford, London. Just like my residency at Headway, I've been immersing myself within the community and interviewing members, and now I'm producing a comic about them with an emphasis on female recreational boxing…
In the Dark Orange
Sunday, 3 June 2018
Just thought I’d share with you some of my latest work in progress. This piece is going to be a quarter of a double page spread depicting memory loss. As some of you will know from previous posts, I am currently working on Tirzeh’s story, who lost memories of some of the key moments in her life because of her brain injury. This picture shows one of them. The rest of the page…
Are you mates with Giorgio Moroder? He feels love, right?
Sunday, 6 May 2018
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…
Exciting new pledge level! Tell your friends or grab it for yourselves!!
Monday, 9 April 2018
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…
Do you know what I love?
Sunday, 11 March 2018
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…
Sunday, 4 February 2018
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…
Made with concentrate (and love, of course)
Monday, 22 January 2018
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…
Love Letters and Upgrade Offer
Tuesday, 9 January 2018
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…
The 243 all the way there...
Tuesday, 19 December 2017
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…
What's in a Brain?
Thursday, 23 November 2017
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…
Friday, 10 November 2017
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…
How do you like an orange?
Friday, 13 October 2017
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.