This month it is my great pleasure to introduce you to Thomas Stimpson MBE.
Thomas has been honoured by the Queen for services to the nation as a member of the armed forces. During his time, he saw active service and as a result of this he has had a long challenging recovery journey in his brave battle to overcome PTSD. Thomas owes everything to his incredibly supportive wife and his lovely children who all helped him to recover, along with clinical interventions and a number of treatments, including Art Therapy, over many years.
photo from the London Speaker Bureau Website.
Much of Thomas’ time now is spent making art, which played a huge part in his recovery programme. He also spends a large amount of his time talking to people about mental health and how to improve life for everyone around us. Helping others wherever he can, be that through rebuilding local historic walls, spending time supporting other sufferers or simply enjoying being part of nature.
Here is just a small part of this lovely man’s story, which I hope you will all share to help others who are suffering. There is light at the end of even the darkest tunnel.
Where do you live?
I live in a beautiful green part of Surrey
What is your background?
I am a Veteran having seen active service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Which media do you prefer to use?
I am learning all the time and enjoy experimenting with oils, acrylic and resin. It is all such a great adventure for me.
What does your work aim to say to the world?
I am conveying a journey from the dark to the light.
Does your work comment in anyway on current social or political issues?
Over time external factors will no doubt have an impact on my work and therefore it does to some extent comment on my journey, which has both social and political implications.
Who or what are your biggest influences?
How do you navigate the art world?
I am grateful to have experienced artists at close hand so that I can learn from them, as this is such a new area for me.
How have you developed your art career?
By developing with consistency, by looking at other artists for inspiration. Whether that is on-line, on TV or in person. There is so much out there from which to learn. Visiting a recent local exhibition was very instructive, looking at the different styles and techniques.
How do you seek out opportunities?
By being open to them and by getting involved.
How do you cultivate a collector base?
I am still learning about all this, in particular the on-line presence but asking for help is important.
Which current art world trend are you following?
I like to see the summer exhibition at the RA each year. There is such a wide variety of works from which to draw. I am also enjoying learning about art and looking at social media, recently watching a podcast from the RA.
Do you know where you are heading career-wise?
I intend to continue to be creative. I have found huge benefits in creating art, it is so beneficial to everyone’s mental health. Having an exhibition would be amazing to meet people and talk about the emotion in art.
Do you have any tips for young artists just starting out?
My advice would be to keep trying different materials, get involved with a local group or start a network with other artists and try and have a mentor – it is really helpful to have one. Use social media and to keep learning about art and art products but most of all, enjoy being creative. It is a wonderful gift.
Where can people see your art, do you have any exhibitions coming up?
I have a piece which will be going on display in Salisbury shortly. I have just finished a piece for a homeless charity and working on the cover for the Arts Alive project in Surrey.
Do you have anything else you would like to convey to an audience?
I am grateful for discovering art. It has been a life saver for me and I’m grateful to ‘Help for Heroes’ and ‘Combat Stress’ for that.
For those who struggle with mental health, depression anxiety and isolation, being creative is a great way to keep your brain occupied whilst enabling the creative part of the brain to be activated and ‘feel good’ chemicals released. Joining a local art group is another great way of meeting other artists and going to different locations. I am grateful to the RA for having the “In Practice” events to enable those who may not have undertaken formal training to share art in a wonderful and inspirational setting. Art is humbling. I have been fortunate to visit some of the exhibitions; seeing an original Leonardo Da Vinci work was an amazing – and memorable – experience recently. Keep on being creative.
How can readers find out more about you?
I will also be creating my website and Instagram and setting up a studio.
Please feel free to contact me regarding any opportunities for commissions, workshops or any speaking events about how art was helpful for me and how it can help you too if you need support with mental health.
Thank you. I am grateful to have been able to share some aspects of the benefits of art and provided a glimpse into how art can be helpful. If I may leave you with a quote which sums-up art up for me.
“A mind damaged by war by creating art can give a glimpse of light and beauty of the soul” Thomas Stimpson MBE
Love and Light.