"At the age of forty I wanted to change my life, then life changed for me.”
Hi, I’m Tony Pickering and I’ve just completed my MA in Illustration. I’d wanted to do the course to study illustration and follow a new direction in life. With two months to go before I started, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. A bit of a shock. All I knew about the disease were fragments from the media, and soon more from what the doctors told me. Each time I felt I had it sorted – something new cropped up. From someone who didn’t do illness, I became very much part of the health system.
From thoughts of children’s books and cartoon illustrations my work took me elsewhere. To know more about my experience, I had to engage with what was happening – the medicine, the science, the emotions, the practicalities.
Starting with me, I’ve slowly begun to work outwards – recording my reactions and feelings about what being a patient means to me, but also to others. As my life changed – so have those of my family around me. Watching from the outside as my Father, Brother and Niece have faced their own struggles I have acknowledged my own strength, and confronted the growing weight of my powerlessness.
Through drawing I work out bits and pieces, I begin to make sense of my new life – and new body. Drawing to me is thinking, is the process of understanding what’s happening – sometimes naturalistic, sometimes metaphorical and surreal. The marks on the page record the process and the struggle, and using layering I can excavate meaning from a situation. Augmenting my work digitally further filters these thoughts – to reflect on what it all means – as if a residue of Wordsworth’s “emotion recollected in tranquility” still haunts the way I work.
My work is centred around the ideas of medical identity and patient experience. Through the collision of comix and poetry I attempt to add texture to our understanding of the 'facts of the present'.
For the last 18 years I have lived in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, where for the last three years my work has focused on the buildings and landscapes of the North East (and where I still return to draw, paint, sell and drop off paintings which can be bought at The Glamorous Owl on High Bridge Street - by The Old George).
All work on display is for sale - either through the shop, or just drop me an email. Commissions are happily undertaken with prices negotiated depending on materials, size and time needed - again just drop me a request and we'll get the ball rolling :)
These are some links I highly recommend, and am indebted to for helping me get this started.