After being asked by Northern to create another image for the over bridge at Victoria Station, Manchester, i was extremely pleased.
My artwork is already on the other side so this would finish it off – not many self taught autistic artists get these opportunities.
I made a visit to the station to have another look for inspiration but also so I could visualise the space again.
After looking at the area I was inspired to create another Manchester Bee which is the symbol of our city.
Black and yellow is synonymous with the Manchester bee and I feel my new scheme creates an eye-catching, slightly ‘neon’ vibe.
The bee design depicted within this art is quite abstract and unique compared to other bee artwork around the city. One of the bees (out of the two in the design) I have incorporated colours of the rainbow to represent Manchesters diversity and culture.
Manchester is a cosmopolitan, international city and this side of the overbridge is the first thing you see when you get off the train and head up the stairs to exit the station into it’s heart.
‘I LOVE MCR VICTORIA’
I wanted this new piece to shout out loud that you have just arrived in the glorious City that is Manchester.
I hope that this will become a very Instagrammable space in Manchester as it is reminiscent of art installations across the globe such as ‘I Amsterdam’ etc.
As well as the artwork in its entirety being visually engaging, i can see people honing in on one letter if it matches one of their initials as well (great for selfies on social media).
The official hashtag for this will be #ilovemcrart which I hope people will get onboard with when visiting Greater Manchester and seeing this art.
The plaque I had created for the artwork reads
“Artwork created for and inspired by the colourful people of Manchester – the heart and soul of the UK.
Designed by autistic artist
‘The gift in the curse’”
Being autistic is a huge part of my life and affects how I interact with the world daily. This condition is still very misunderstood. I want to use my platform as an artist to help speak about this (mainly through my art) and help people gain a better understanding and hopefully help break some of the stigma attached!
I could of just put ‘designed by artist’, but I wanted to add ‘autistic artist’ so that it stands out and in this the reader may also ask why I have put this and in doing so learn about the condition.
‘The gift in the curse’ is how I see autism and society. I feel the unique way the neurodivergent mind looks at the world is a gift, but the way society had deemed it for so long makes it a curse. With better understanding this can change and I feel talking about it openly is key.
I am hoping to put on my first Art Exhibition next year which is also titled ‘The gift in the curse’. I cover lots of topics through my artwork but being Atypical is the core theme.
In the build up to the unveiling I was already extremely anxious as I am at all of these events. I had been having more meltdowns in the weeks before and even formed a twitch on my left eye!
On the day, I had had no sleep the previous night and a big meltdown which had left me feeling mentally flat and not able to mask when I go out – which I do to cope in public. I knew that even medication wouldn’t stop the fight or flight feeling and extreme anxiety so I decided that it was in my best interest to miss the event.
This wasn’t an easy decision after all the effort put into creating this artwork and helping behind the scenes coordinating the unveiling – not to mention how proud I am of my biggest public piece to date and what it represents – but I didn’t want to make my condition any worse.
Unfortunately this is one of the things which affect my condition. I have missed other big occasions due to meltdowns and extreme anxiety – including major events like my sons birthday in the past.
Social gatherings are always a stressor for me and I use medication or alcohol (or both) to get me through – but sometimes it’s too much. Obviously this is not perfect but unfortunately this is a way I have had to learn to cope throughout my life – see past blogs for more on that topic. Since my diagnosis I have started to educate myself on triggers/stressors in the hope I can manage better but it is still early days.
Missing the unveiling shows how things that people take for granted can have such an impact on someone atypical. These are things I want to help raise awareness of so that society is more inclusive and understanding.
To everyone who took their time to attend I am really sorry I couldn’t make it. The support I have received has been amazing and I thank each and everyone of you. Cheers to the multi-talented Paul Moore who took time to capture these great shots, please check out his website – link beneath photos.
A really big thank you to the High Sheriff for taking time out of her busy schedule to come and officially unveil my artwork – and for your continued support.
Thank you to Northern yet again for trusting my talent as an artist to create a unique image for our proud City. I especially want to thank Sam Newman who has learned to understand my condition and how it affects me and supporting me every step of the way.