Roy: "Supporting makers"
Roy Appleton, 62, has come a long way since being referred by Isledon Road mental health services in 2011. ‘Being involved with PBHA has made me think more positively about living longer – I’ve cut down on drinking, I eat healthily and I’m trying to give up smoking. I’ve enjoyed my bit of fame from having art exhibitions and my family are well-impressed.’
Roy had experience with machinery but through taking courses, such as Soft Furnishings, Upcycling Furniture and Joinery, he was able to find new ways to use his skills. Through his first exhibition at the PBHA Stamford Works, he also sold his first piece of art. ‘I found there are such nice people at PBHA, staff are very supportive and participants are friendly. I thought there could be a future here for me. Lots of people appreciate my artwork at PBHA, it’s the best feedback I’ve ever had, and it makes me happy.
‘I had the opportunity of my first solo-exhibition of action paintings at Outpost in 2013, Weather Beaten, which was a great success, I sold 7 paintings. Even Jeremy Corbyn (Labour MP for Islington North) bought one and I met him. Now when I see him in the street he says ‘Hello, I look at that painting every day when I wake up’. I feel really proud of myself.’
‘Back by popular demand, in 2015 I had a second exhibition at Outpost, Weather or Not, as part of Holloway Arts Festival with Rowan Arts, it looked amazing. I loved seeing visitors studying my paintings and I couldn’t believe it when 9 sold. It was the first time I was featured in a newspaper, the Islington Tribune, which made me really proud.’
This year Roy joined the Supporting Makers programme, making ‘Splash & Drip Cards’ to sell in Outpost. Through Outpost and Creative Industries’ support he is also finding out about running a small business and market research on what customers like to buy.