I wrote in my other blog of my new role as an unpaid carer for my son, who struggles with depression.

I have been unable to update my old a-n blog here since it was featured, so I figured it’s time for a fresh start and am trying to work out how to keep going forward.

Am I or am I not an artist? Other artists will tell me I am, but I haven’t considered myself an artist for over a year, as I’ve been forced out of the profession by lack of properly paid opportunities and pointless bureaucracy.

You may have seen the Dispatches documentary on Channel 4 with Ade Adepitan highlighting how the benefit system abuses disabled people, including those with mental illness.

I no longer know which role I’m doing at any given time. I haven’t applied for Carer’s Allowance, because I still cite that I’m an artist by profession, which feels like a lie.

I still keep applying for funding without success, and I mostly withdraw my labour unless I’m offered proper remuneration, which is rare.

My son was diagnosed with depression back in 2013. It’s been a long journey full of great distress, and not something I felt had any relevance to my practice, I wanted to keep it separate. I still do.

I never aspired to this role, I never asked for it, and now that I have had no choice but to take it on, I now have another unpaid job to add to my non-CV of apparent “scrounging”.

Most of my time is spent reminding my son that he needs to make a doctor’s appointment, for a while I would go with him to the doctor’s, checking and re-checking dates and that he’s doing what he needs to do against all manner of pointless bureaucracy.

Keen to avoid the abuses of the DWP, he was clearly not prepared to seek work, so we applied for ESA instead, which was a process as shown in the Dispatches episode – we were told we weren’t allowed to know what criteria they based their Nurse Ratched assessment on, an assessment that completely ignored the doctor’s diagnosis that he is unfit for work. So we had to go through the appeal process, and our appeal was upheld at the end of March.

The very same week that Work And Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith resigned.

Portrait Of Ian Duncan Smith With Bandaged Nose was painted in the style of Van Gogh, after Self Portrait With Bandaged Ear, has been selected to be exhibited at the Institute for Mental Health via City Arts in Nottingham coming up in May 2016.


OK, so my work wasn’t accepted for the RA Summer Exhibition, and there isn’t really any reason why it wasn’t.

In a conversation with non artists on Facebook, the non artists were shocked that artists have to pay to enter work for exhibition, but if it isn’t accepted, there is no refund offered.

So now I’m having to think about how to use the SANE Creative Award funding.

In discussion with the funders, it was suggested I reapply next year.

In the mean time, I’m currently awaiting this UC award notification.

Ian Duncan Smith has been awarded a knighthood, when really, he should be in jail.



As the RA Summer Exhibition opened for submissions, this was the purpose of the SANE Creative Awards scheme funding – to cover the economic barrier that is entry fees, shipping costs and any travel to London for the RA Summer Exhibition.

I have submitted one of the Monaco paintings, titled Cryptomonkey, and am now considering options. Obviously, if it’s accepted, and there isn’t really any particular reason why it shouldn’t be, then I will use more of the funding as intended. If it isn’t, then I’m considering using the funding for materials to create more work.

I’m concerned that the SANE awards funding will become swallowed up in other bills and overdraft fees before I get the chance to make the best use of it.

I’m still receiving Working Tax Credits, however, since my youngest son’s work hours increased some time ago, there has been a significant drop in income – I’ve calculated that if I were to impoverish myself for five weeks and transfer to Universal Credit, I’d receive an additional £300+ per month.

It’s an impossible choice to make, as I still fundamentally disagree with the five week wait for income, especially for #ExcludedUK artists.

I applied for the Author’s Contingency Fund, and was awarded a grant, after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing about “eligibility criteria”.

I’ve lost income as an illustrator, as I was running workshops until lockdown, and I have not been in a position to restart them.

But recently, I received an invoice from City of Lincoln Council for a “Housing Benefit Overpayment”.

Yet another unfair economic punishment, which I am having to waste time challenging, instead of creating work.



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I was very pleased to be awarded the SANE Creative Awards Scheme this year, which is for my new series of Monaco paintings.

These paintings address the juxtaposition of life experiences as a carer, being denied any income for caring, with older experiences of wealth; indeed, in my latest carer’s assessment, because Carer’s First know that I can’t live on zero income / benefits / clapping, they have decided that I no longer care! How convenient for them! This is subject to a complaint.

The Monaco paintings address former experiences of economic and narcissistic abuse, which led to my eventual experience as a single parent, as the holiday to the South of France and Monaco were compensation for having my entire first wages coerced from me for my then boyfriend’s gambling debts.

The wages were being saved up for my first driving lessons, and I never got them back. When my ex father-in-law discovered what he had done, I was invited on holiday as compensation.

I’m following The Law Of Attraction, to manifest wealth, prosperity and abundance, and this was included in the proposal.

It’s a strong aspect of my work now. I’m not asking for foodbanks, impoverishment, benefits overpayments or a low income.

I never wanted a council house.

I used to want to own my own home, but now I’m levelling up, and I want a mansion.

I’ve earnt one.

Rishi Sunak’s wife has not earnt theirs.

The first painting was finished, and I’m now working on the second.

The first painting is titled Cryptomonkey, and is an imaginary James Bond film and a fake James Bond yacht moored at Burton Waters marina.

My aim is to complete the second and third Monaco paintings, and to enter one for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition – the funding will cover the cost of entry fees and shipping costs.

This was going to be for this year, but will now be next year.

The idea is for one or more of the paintings to be sold to a gallery that exhibits international artists’ work in Monaco, and to eventually be able to return, hopefully for Monaco Art Week.
More work in progress in this blog.


Last week, I took part in the National Centre for Creative Health Creative Health Review Roundtable.

There were some very inspiring examples of how arts in social care can be used to improve wellbeing, although within the discussion, it was clear that this is isolated to a few select areas where funding is allocated, and it needs to be more universal!

If only there was something happening in Lincolnshire to mirror Plus One in Derby, for example.

Anndeloris Chacon of Bristol Black Carers reflected my own #wagesnotclaps campaign for carers, when she said that caring should never be defined as “unpaid” or “informal”, given the impact it has on carer’s lives.

I’m back to fighting for my respite funding, and in fact, more financial support to prevent bankruptcy, debt, potential homelessness, and all the cost of living crisis effects that are putting us at dire economic risk, and are not being supported by carer’s charities.

I have discovered that if I complain to the local authority about their definitions of carers being “unpaid” against our will, and they don’t uphold the complaint, I can complain to an ombudsman.

I wasn’t going to renew my membership here, but it has gone out automatically, so rather than be bankrupted by the lack of arts opportunities for artist carers, it would be useful to receive some funding, a bursary, or other exhibition opportunity that I take the time to apply for, without any other gatekeeping criteria.

Carers are rightfully angry, and not just me!

We are angry that these charities are not doing anything to support our actual needs! And we need #wagesnotclaps not carer’s leave – how am I supposed to get carer’s leave as a freelance fine artist? From who?


Does anyone know if Artists’ Day Rate Fees are going to be readjusted to match the Cost Of Living Crisis and the new energy crisis?

This is the biggest issue as an artist and carer – sky high energy bills that are now increasing to ridiculous levels.

I really hope fees for artists will rise to cover these additional costs!