Why I'm selling my art for disability equality

When I was approached to come on board with Scope’s online shop, it was an easy decision because we both want to make a society where disabled people have equality, in every aspect of our lives.

Like Scope, I want to help raise awareness of disability and empower those affected by it and this opportunity was the perfect platform to talk to a wide audience, through my illustrations.

I am particularly drawn to subjects relating to:

  • chronic health
  • mental health
  • self-care
  • social justice
  • cultural issues

About my work

While I have a successful career creating illustrative works for a range of clients, as well as creating designs for products in my own shop, this is the first time I have collaborated with a charity, so I’m incredibly excited about my partnership with Scope.

My work is vibrantly colourful and is inspired by historical art forms such as illuminated manuscripts, coats of arms and stained glass windows. I also enjoy embedding symbolism into my work and I’ve created a unique design for Scope.

‘Diversity Is Power’ is an adaptation from my ‘Rest is for Rebels’ collection, inspired by my invisible disabilities. I believe that there is more to us than our economic output and I want my design to serve as a visual cue to prioritise self-care.

My approach to managing disability has developed significantly over the years, and it has also brought me closer to my disabled sister

I’ve noticed from my experiences that disabled people and especially people with invisible disabilities, face systemic barriers to equality on a daily basis. This often comes from people not understanding, or choosing to ignore disability. My work aims to educate people and help towards becoming a truly equal society.

One of my conditions is Chronic Migraine and it has a huge impact on every area of my life, especially my work. I’m a trained illustrator and up until late 2019, I was a teaching assistant but due to my disabilities and the inflexibility of my employer, I had to resign from my position. I am now a freelance illustrator, meaning I have the flexibility I need to devote my energy to my art and my wellbeing.

There has been a huge positive side to my disability. Since my migraines became chronic, I have become closer to my sister who also is disabled and we have developed a more supportive relationship, which is integral to how we both manage our disabilities. I’ve learned to talk about the subject openly rather than keep my thoughts and experiences to myself, which is definitely not a healthy attitude. Wellbeing is paramount and our voices need to be heard.

Putting my health first

Putting your mental and physical health first shouldn’t be a pandemic-only approach.

Lockdown highlighted and, in some cases, exacerbated the significant inequalities in our society. However, it also opened up opportunities for disabled people, thanks to more accessible work and leisure opportunities. Sadly, these appear to be disappearing as quickly as they arrived. Businesses learned that flexible working works really well, and I believe, just like Scope, this format should be the norm for businesses as we recover from the ongoing pandemic.

For a lot of people with chronic illnesses and mental health problems, losing the flexible working options that have been available during lockdowns could be devastating. I know there are many people with Long Covid who are having to adjust to their 'new normal' and they will feel that same sense of loss and fear that I and every newly disabled person experience.

Now is an essential time to remind people that putting your mental and physical health first, shouldn’t be a pandemic-only approach. That should be the first thing we do, every day.

You can find my work in Scope’s new online shop.

About our online shop

Here at Scope, we've partnered with 5 disabled designers and artists to create an exciting range of products for our first online shop. The artists’ designs are printed onto a range of gifts and the 5 different styles mean there’s something to suit most art-lovers’ tastes this Christmas

The online shop offers a carefully curated range of stunning gifts from acclaimed Arthouse Unlimited, which works with disabled artists.

The result is a stunning, accessible online shop, offering print-on-demand designs and a range of ready-to-purchase items. With our Christmas cards also available, the shop provides a one-stop destination for Christmas giving this year.

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