How we supported Lee

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While artistic development is clearly at the core of our aims at Artbox London, we find it is also important to work on other valuable skills with our artists. A fantastic example of this is our artist Lee, whose goal for this year was to talk to others about his art. We were keen to facilitate this, encouraging Lee to give presentations about his work. Over the course of the year he presented three times. He gave one presentation to a group of City and Islington College students, another to a funder to report back on his experiences at Artbox, and thirdly, he joined Shruti in talking about his work at our Welcome exhibition. In doing these presentations, Lee was not only developing his own communication but was hoping to inspire younger people with disabilities.

I got talking to new people, which was good actually. They said to me ‘how did you make them’ – I had to be honest and I told them. It was actually fine talking to new people. I wasn’t embarrassed when people said nice things about my work. I felt happy of course.
— Lee

Lee’s ability to speak to groups of people sees him building upon the communication skills he has already made in establishing social relationships with his fellow artists. When Lee talks about his art his passion for Ancient Egypt, an interest he has been developing since school, shines through – hence his nickname as ‘the Lee-gyptologist’! In working on this interest he has tried lots of different techniques, gaining new skills, and working collaborative with other artists.

 All of this indicates the confidence that Lee has been able develop at Artbox. His confidence has been reinforced by him being given the opportunity to speak about his work, but also in the opportunity to sell his work. The joy that all our artists, Lee included, experience when one of their pieces is sold is extremely special, but also crucial in building their confidence. Lee was elated when he first sold a piece, believing beforehand that no one would consider buying one of his artworks: 

That night I thought – there’s no way that will go (sell) but it actually did. I thought to myself, no one will get it. I just couldn’t believe when the woman that I never known said ‘I got one of yours for a friend’. She got it for one of her friends. I was still in shock that night – I thought to myself ‘no’!
— Lee

More recently Lee has licensed his artwork to Oxford University Press, who will be using it on a book cover. His work has also been painted onto the windows of House of Illustration!

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