Old Man Grey
How did you become an artist?
It might sound silly but I became an artist because I really wanted to be one! So about 6 years ago, I set myself the goal of drawing something new every day and did so for 2 years, posting daily to Instagram. My drawing skills really improved and so did my confidence, and as requests for commissions came in I realised I could potentially develop a business from my passion.
What do you enjoy most about the creative process?
Honestly, it's seeing the reaction of the people I do the work for. This is also what makes me the most nervous while I'm working on a project!
But it pushes me on to work hard.
Can you share any details of how you created the artwork you have donated to us?
These illustrations were created through a mixture of hand-drawn ideas in my sketchbook and drawings created on the iPad Pro, as I enjoy doing both digital and hand-drawn work. They were the outcome of my taking part in Inktober 2018, where throughout October artist Jake Parker provides a daily prompt and you are tasked with drawing something to that theme. I knew I wanted to create something to reflect my journey through cancer treatment and remission. I then brought the individual illustrations together into one piece to create the 'Creativity Conquers Cancer' print to raise some funds for Bloodwise. I was blown away to then be approached by Bloodwise to develop the piece further to create a Bloodwise x Oldmangrey product range.
What do you like about the products and why should people purchase them?
The illustrations on these products remind me of some of the hardest times in my life, but they're also a reminder that I was able to overcome them. As I drew each piece, it felt like a reminder that even through extremely hard times there's always a light at the end of the tunnel. I also love that the products now tell a story, even if it is a little quirky! I've always found creativity to be a helpful outlet if I've been worried, stressed or anxious, and I really hope that these products can bring a little bit of that relief to others going through similar difficulties - whether through direct use of the products themselves, or from the funds raised for Bloodwise to help them continue the life-changing work that they do.
What is your personal connection to Bloodwise and how did you first become aware of us?
In November 2017, at 29 years old, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. It's hard to put into words the initial shock of the diagnosis and the difficulties of the journey through treatment and recovery. But from very early on I knew I wanted to do something to give back and help the work of charities supporting people through a blood cancer diagnosis and treatment, as the support there is incredible. We were given literature from Bloodwise regarding the stem cell transplant process and road to recovery, which was really helpful in what was a traumatic time, and as I found out more about their lifesaving work I knew I wanted to support them in any way I could. I can honestly say this is one of the proudest projects of my career, and it's a privilege to have the opportunity to support the charity and others going through a blood cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery.