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Looking again: on the work of Susan Austin and Danny Gregory
Some artists can cause us reframe our view of the world. Both through the art itself, the processes used to create work and the ways in which these ripple out into the world, in some contexts the experience of disability can serve to help people see what is really there. Jo Verrent explores….
Sue Williams, Senior Strategy Officer for Diversity at Arts Council England was one of those moved to take up his unique way into viewing the world differently:
“Last year I started keeping an art journal – I’ve always kept a sketchbook but I found that maintaining the consistent development of artistic direction hard in the context of work and complex family life. I came across Danny Gregory’s book The Creative License which is a guide to how you can effectively build being an artist into your everyday life… It was a revelation.
Keeping a journal has been the single biggest contributor to improving the quality of my life… When I finally read Danny’s book; Everyday Matters … I discovered that the trigger for his approach, and the associated Everyday Matters movement had been the change of circumstances in his life when his wife became disabled. And no, it’s not therapy or introspection: it’s rigorous observation, drawing, writing and connecting with creativity everyday; really seeing the things you would normally miss, making new connections and ultimately creative output (something as an artist I crave and strive for).
I suppose I am in awe in this instance of the power of disability to be a catalyst for such a widespread, powerful and positive engagement in arts and creativity. Perhaps this is an example of where disability as an issue and experience is the leader (or at least the trigger for leadership) – creating the conditions for Danny to so effectively utilise, and the rest of us to so willingly follow.”