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“With Workman Arts I always know that I have a place to work, a place to learn, and a place to show my work. More importantly, Workman gives me a community, a group who understands the challenges of creating while Mad.
While I’ve lived with mental illness all of my adult life I had achieved a fair degree of success as a documentary film editor. With hundreds of broadcast credits to my name and a growing number of theatrical films in festivals and theatres I was doing well until my illness made employment increasingly difficult.
As I spiraled down through Insanity towards poverty and homelessness I managed to hang on to one simple camera. This became a creative tool that I could use to fend off the demons of darkness. What I was still lacking, though, was a creative community. I needed the support of artists who understood just how profoundly Madness can impede creativity; a group who had already discovered ways to create despite their challenges. At Workman Arts I finally found a place where I could contribute to an ongoing creative dialogue about what it means to be Mad.
Shortly after joining Workman Arts I was awarded grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council to write a feature documentary exploring the intersection of Madness and Creativity. This led me to be nominated as the Media Artist in Residence at Workman Arts in 2016/2017.
During my tenure, I used the facilities at Workman Arts to edit The Butterfly Monument, a documentary I co-directed. I also collaborated on an art book that’s been exhibited at group shows in Canada and Germany and I contributed photographs to the Broken Light Collective.
I created two short autobiographical films, both of which screened at the Rendezvous with Madness film festival. I also received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council for my photo series The Illusion of Time. Workman Arts will be showing that work in a solo show in the summer of 2018.
I’ve sat on the member advisory committee at Workman Arts, and the programming committee for Rendezvous With Madness. I’ve also joined the ODSP Action Coalition, which is advocating for changes to restrictions the Ontario Disability Support Program places on artists.
In the last five years, I’ve progressed from homelessness to being an award winning Mad Artist and activist. Workman Arts has made that possible. None of my successes would be possible without the support of the staff and the encouragement of the ever-expanding community of artists at Workman Arts. I’ll always be Mad, but with Workman Arts I can be a Mad Artist.”