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Disability Arts Online

A monochrome drawing of a hilly landscape

Mount Cabon I by Colin Hambrook

Disability Pride

I was delighted to enter some work for the competition. But having done it, pushed me to question what it is all about? My art-making has always been an on-off thing. It is an expensive and messy business, creating anything you would want to put in a gallery. Thus periods of making work and not making it, often reflect how flush I am. In the last year I've spent 20 per cent of my income, before tax, on this obsession. Just the cost of framing and transporting work to Holton Lee, represented 5 per cent of my yearly income. I've often been admonished over the years by an assortment of people, to not sell out, as an artist. I've never been told to not bankrupt myself! I think this illustrates the dilemma of attempting to be that most auspicious of things - a professional artist. It is especially difficult, when working within a context, which is persistently viewed as being about community or participatory arts. Making visual art is an expensive and time-consuming business. Without the contacts and the support to keep going, is a very precarious business.

However, seeing my work on show, gave me a fantastic opportunity to judge it critically for myself. There was also the kudos of having the work accepted and receiving a commendation - even if I don't believe I would have awarded it to myself. Getting some objectivity on work intended for a fairly large space is not an easy luxury to accommodate. But it is a necessary to find out what directions the work suggests for future development. I'd love to see Holton Lee thriving as a place where disabled artists can work and develop and gain confidence in what they are doing, to really push the boat out. Finally, what an exhibition like this should be looking to achieve, is about finding a real confidence. Not the kind of bravura statements, which so often convey a pointless self-justification. We are worth more than that. Disability Arts is worth more than that.