Simon, a patient in our Regional Neurological Rehabilitation Unit (RNRU), attends art workshops twice a week where it quickly emerged that he was a talented artist.
Simon often likes to draw with white crayons on black, or coloured sheets of paper. His delicately shaded drawings evoke mysterious forms in nature, such as crystalline structures, the interior of shells and microscopic images. He says that when he starts a drawing, he has no clear intention or idea how it will turn out and prefers to “just let it flow”. He is often surprised by what emerges hours, days or weeks later. Simon is engaged in making artwork regularly and finds it stimulating and says it’s “good for the imagination”. While he is interested in different forms of art, he has evolved his own unique style that is instantly recognisable. His black and white drawings also describe urban experiences of space, such as the contents of an office and its fixtures and furnishings. Other pictures describe busy social hubs, such as station concourses, pavements, and places where many people congregate, forming a crowd and then disperse anonymously. Other drawings seem to merge human and machine elements that have a science-fiction feel to them.
Simon sometimes works with colour, too. He likes to cut up Polaroid photos, using their shapes to form intriguing collages. By contrasting these photographs, he is conveying a pictorial language of signs and spatial relationships. This is complex, decision-making artwork, involving a process of selection and reconfiguring an image to discover something entirely new. In other exploratory works, Simon creates still lifes from soft abstract shapes, using a warm palette of colours. You can see the outlines emerging of pictorial forms, such as fruit.
Shaun Caton, who leads the art workshops, said “Simon’s artwork is compelling and dramatic, it represents a quiet and contemplative experiment with abstraction and figuration.”
Thank you to Simon and his mum who kindly gave permission for us to share his beautiful artwork, which you can view below.
Art workshops are offered to patients with acquired and traumatic brain injuries as part of their rehabilitation programme. Workshops can help to improve upper limb function, manual dexterity, hand and eye coordination, and concentration. They also encourage patients to express themselves through different mediums and connect with others. The creative media room is a purpose designed studio with easels, paints, palettes, brushes, and other tools for creating a wide variety of art forms. Hackney has a rich art culture, and we’re lucky enough to have local artists visit the workshops, giving their time to allow patients to benefit from their skills and expertise.
Our art therapy programme is supported by Homerton Hope.