Joel and Jake

Artbox volunteer Jake Lamerton tells us about working with Joel on his day centre project. 

Jake at the exhibition
As I started working with Joel, he shared more and more of his knowledge and warmth with me
— Jake

When I first encountered Joel’s work at Artbox’s Cello Factory exhibition last year, I was immediately struck by one of his pieces. It was an incredibly detailed model of a bathroom in his day centre, an important space for Joel that was threatened by closure. To me, it expressed a wonder at the seemingly mundane,  and it also made me feel a little jealous of the knowledge and understanding he had gained from building the model.

As I started working with Joel, he shared more and more of his knowledge and warmth with me. I see this generosity running throughout his work. Joel has an incredible skill of creating something enchanting from materials that would normally be thrown away, taking something that can be experienced negatively, and presenting it as something wonderful.

The model immortalises a space that means a lot to Joel. It’s  almost as if he’s suggesting that the strength he finds there exists within himself, and he’s determined that it shall not suffer the same fate as the day centre.

To me, Joel’s attempt to construct his day centre is, whether consciously or not, his acknowledgement that there is hope when times are hard, and that his skills and motivation can help him overcome difficult situations.

Artbox plays a vital role in enabling Joel to deal with this situation, perhaps most of all through the confidence he gains through the social environment of the studio. I have seen Joel grow dramatically as a person while working with him at Artbox on this project, and I think his work is evidence of this for us all.

See how Joel's day centre is progressing at our Resonate exhibition on Thursday 6 October 2016.