My first inspiration

As an illustrator I endeavor to produce meaningful work that can have a positive effect on others, inspire individuals and bring together a community. My visual ethos was based on this, with a selection of my points relating to: creating work with purpose, that is meaningful; sparking imagination; encourage mental or physical interaction; and using colour to cause emotion.  I am strongly interested in the power of art and being creative - in particular how can art positively enrich children’s development? As a child I was exposed to art, and both my grandmother, and mother are both great artists, however sadly not practicing now due to the stresses of life. I remember regularly having art competitions and being encouraged to be creative. I never thought much about the impact of being creative can effect you physically and mentally, but maybe having art in my life has changed these aspects considerably as opposed to if I had grown up without it’s influence? After researching how our brain functions for a previous project about ‘temptation’ and my summer project, which entailed interviewing an illustrator ‘Iris Hill’, I became interested in the power of art and its effects on peoples wellbeing. Hill was writing and illustrating several children’s books, and collating workshops for children, encouraging imagination and creativity. When I walked into her studio, it was covered in fantastical characters and bright cheerful colours. I became intrigued why she was so passionate, and the importance for Hill to inspire children to be creative. She also brought the idea of art therapy to me, which has since  interested me. How does being creative, something that is enjoyable to most, have positive effects on our mental, social, physical, cognitive and imaginative skills? And how can I as an illustrator use my work, to help traumatised children, and encourage them to be creative and develop their skills?

This brought me onto my current project. There are a lot of stories in the news currently about refugees. Some images and stories are very heart breaking, and very shocking that this is happening in our world. I didn't really have a massive understanding about what was happening, so i decided to look further into it. After discovering the reason for the Syrian war, and what actually was happening to the poor civilians, i felt a bit sick! I came across a charity called  Project Amal ou Salam (Hope and Peace) and i was very inspired by the work they do. The children have limited or 'no access to education, therapy, or any recreational activites.' The projects makes 'innovative use of sports, arts and other activities not present in the camps to support the mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing and the children'. They help fund, schools and visit the children as much as they can assisting with a 'normal' life. They are ultimately ensuring the children grow up not as the lost generation, but full of hope, strong and capable to rebuild their country. This inspired me to do something to help.