So Renee and I had fart-arsed around about shooting for a while. I was busy. She was busy. She moved house. I was working… We both wanted to shoot so I knew we would get there eventually. Renee is such a talented artist. She showed me her suitcase full of sketches and drawings….bared her soul for me, for you…

This is Renee’s story;

“Art runs in the family, just the girls though, and not all of them, but most. My Mummu (grandmother) was an artist, as was my Mum. My Aunts make cartoons, and 2 of 4 of my female cousins draw. It’s always just been there. Everyone I could possibly look up to was doing it, and it’s all I ever actually wanted to do.

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I’ve been at it a long time. I’d like to tell you that I’ve been consistent with it, but that would be a lie. There are some times that I resent it so much that I will completely refuse to pick up a pencil. For a few years now, I have lived with the conclusion that making art for any purpose but your own is unrewarding. Soul-crushing, you might call it. But, as with any love-hate relationship, the love is always there, and it’s undeniable. Living without making art is more pain than the disappointments that come from how under appreciated it feels.

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I mainly draw. I paint. I graphic design (with some very strict terms). I take photos. I sculpt.

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Duncan and I looked at a case of my unfinished works. That’s actually par for my typical productivity, but these are the ones that stuck behind, that I didn’t trash, or give away. In the case is a collection of works that resonated with me and were too personal to give away or destroy. They are a visual diary of my life and my struggles, and to see them gives me strength.

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What I have chronicled within them is, to put it bluntly, my years of sadness. I couldn’t tell you how many self portraits are in the case, but I can tell you, all of them were from moments of great emotional turmoil. They all have a story, and they all inspire hope For the simple fact that they have passed, that they were never finished. If you were to line them up in order of age you can see not only a progression in skill, but in mental health, with the last in the series showing not sadness, but an attempt at finding clarity within my own little world.

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There is little else that reminds me that whatever struggle finds me, that it too shall pass.”

Thanks Renee.

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There were four angels around my bed,

With burning candlesticks outspread,

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Two at my feet,

Two at my head,

They tricked the darkness of its dread,

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My four angels,

My bright candles,

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There came a man of vision clear,

He said;

“The angels are not here…”

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“They are phantoms born of fear,

I speak and they will disappear…”

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Those four angels,

Those bright candles…”

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Ruth Manning-Sanders;

“Darkness”