This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit

Disability Arts Online

Joe Mc rekindles his DAO blog after a very long silence ... / 21 September 2011

red cow in blue forest with yellow tree in foreground

Cow and bull story. (Joe McConnell 2010, Digital montage combining wood block and monoprint with pencil drawing).

Zoom in to this image and read text description

Haven't been here on this blog for a while. Didn't mean to be away so long.

About a year ago, i put up a few posts about coming out. This was a twofold thing : coming out both as a disabled person late in life and also as an artist, even later.

I began to make art out in the open during a stay at an NHS Mental Health Recovery Centre where - somewhat exceptionally in the current climate - art was at the centre of things. So making art was a critical part of my recovery.

In my first blogs, i took pains to identify myself as a 'non-artist artist' making first tentative steps walking away from the shadows. Looking back, the only reason i can remember for this is the ongoing insecurity and lack of confidence about the things that really mattered to me. And also, poosibly, a defference to all of those who had struggled through years of formal art training.

A year later, I haven't stopped making art and realise that it's what I do all the time. Whether it's good, bad or indifferent in the eyes of others is, somehow, another story.

So a year on, I'd like to renew my sincerest thanks to Jules Thorn Recovery Centre and Caroline Kardia in particular. And I'd also like to pour eternal gratitude on Disabily Arts Online for giving outsider disabled artists a place to explore the many questions around what makes us embrace art. And also - as was my case for well on half a lifetime - makes us terrified of going to the uncharted territories it opens up for us.

Keywords: art