I created this image after receiving a call informing me that Harry Billinge MBE (D-Day veteran who created memorial to soldiers who died in france) had sadly passed away. I had created a piece of artwork in tribute to Harry a few years ago & finally got the picture to him last year on his 96th birthday. Harrys daughter Margot had arranged that we could spend some time on a zoom call whilst he opened his surprise present.. it was something i will never forget. Harry was a true hero & a real character – one of them people you speak to & just want to ask so many questions & listen to & never get bored. His strong character which originally drawn me to him when i first watched him being interviewed really shone through.
Reflecting on what a privilege it was to meet Harry through my artwork, along with all the other amazing people i have come across through my art journey, i wanted to create an image to represent this.
My first thought was ‘Art Connects’.
I have always said that my art journey & my diagnosis of autism was intertwined as they both started around the same time. I used artwork to help me cope & process such a huge stressor. I feel my understanding of myself & my condition has grown, as have my skills as an artist. I express my feelings, emotions, focus on my art daily.
I feel through my art & my condition that i have connected with so many people that i never would of done would it not be for them both – Turning ’Pain into Power’ as my good friend Maggie would say.
Creating art has been enlightening to me & i dont how i would cope without it. I am very thankful that i have found it to help with my condition.
Art really does connect people in my experience & i will keep pushing art therapy on people until ’i cant’!
Rest in peace Harry, it was a privilege & an honour to speak with you, something i will never forget.
Here is the blog i created on how i met the national treasure Harry Billinge http://loveartpix.co.uk/harry-billinge-mbe-ldh/