What an achievement! My first ever exhibition.

What an achievement! My first ever exhibition.

Earlier in the year I was asked by Fiona Angel and Sue Mulholland if I’d like to hold an exhibition at Dulwich College, for them to think my work is exhibition worthy means so much! The school has been amazing to myself and my family over the last six years, so to hold my first exhibition there felt only right.

Holding an exhibition is something I never had planned in my life, then again everything I’m doing now in my life was completely unplanned. Sometimes it’s the unexpected, It’s the moments that you think will hold you back in life that you find out what really drives you forward.

I have always loved drawing and painting, but I let that love to create drift away after my accident. At the beginning of the year I had an illness that meant I was bed bound for a few weeks. I was getting rather bored and found an app on my iPad that I could use for drawing by holding a stylus in my mouth and touching the screen. It stirred something in me I thought had gone, I loved it!

My first drawing was one of the greatest moments in the history of English rugby, Jonny Wilkinson’s iconic drop goal in the breath-taking seconds of extra time during the 2003 world cup final, which lead us to victory 20-17 against Australia. Jonny Wilkinson was a huge inspiration for me and all boys playing rugby at that time, it is an image that will stay with me forever! And a natural choice for my first drawing.

When my health improved and I was able to get out of bed, I taught myself how to draw and paint with actual pencils and paint by attaching the utensils to a mouth stick. It took time and patience! The innovative design and build specialist Lecky gave me one of their versatile products a Mount N’Mover, we were able to incorporate a second tray to accommodate my full palette of paints, it’s fantastic! A perfect easel that’s enabled me to open up a thoroughly enjoyable new chapter in my life.

It’s funny but without that illness I would never have rediscovered my love for drawing, painting and creating. Adversity has given me a gift, I may not be able to use my hands to do any work but sometimes you just have to adapt to life’s challenges.

The subjects of my work consist of those who have inspired me for a long time, those who have played big parts in my life over the last six years, those that have inspired me more recently and pieces that I have been very proud to be commissioned to create.

Being able to move onto physical pieces using pencils and paint felt brilliant. I love the challenge of being able to pick a subject and try to recreate it in my own style. With a pencil I can add a lot of detail and with paint I can bring a picture to life. When I am drawing I only use pencil and so far have mainly focused on portraits, I focus on people’s faces trying to be as precise as possible. I always start with the eyes because they’re a real giveaway of the depth of that person, then I build up from there, I won’t put as much detail into the rest of the face but I’ll bring out what makes them in the picture such as, the furrowed brow and floppy hair in my drawing of Gordon Ramsey.

Painting gives me the opportunity to be freer, I don’t draw anything out I just go straight ahead with the paintbrush. So far I have only used watercolour paints as they are the most forgiving, the ability to clean a brush and continue without continually changing brushes allows me to zone in and focus. I mainly paint pictures that I hope I can bring a lot of movement to. The Harry Potter and Chris Froome paintings are a good example.

Henry & JK Rowling

My rediscovered joy for art has given me so much, So far this year I have been commissioned by The Times to produce an action painting of Chris Robshaw for the front cover of their first rugby World Cup supplement, invited to appear on the BBC 2 Victoria Derbyshire show, completely star struck when I met David Beckham, been massively complimented about my art on social media by the likes of Usain Bolt, Rory McIlroy, and Lewis Hamilton. Donated art which has raised over £9,000 for several charities, and honoured to say J K Rowling was a guest at my art exhibition. When I was lying in my hospital bed six years ago no one, not even me, expected I’d be doing anything like this.

The exhibition was very successful, far beyond my expectations!  so much so that I am looking for a venue to host my exhibition in the spring. I have so many people to thank, Sue & Fiona for their hard work before, during and after the exhibition. Dulwich College for allowing me to use such an amazing venue, my family and friends old and new for coming along to the Private View, the room was buzzing with positive compliments about my art.

That’s one thing I would say I believe from everything I’ve been through…that it’s the striving that makes life meaningful… it’s the challenge, the quest, the undone that really is what a meaningful life offers me…

I’m very lucky that I get to wake up each day and do what I truly love.

We are working on a website for My Art, this should be live shortly, if you would like any further information please email henry.fraser@mac.com


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Contact me

Jane Stokes
Product manager at apple
Bill Miles
Product manager at apple

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