The InFinnity Project
It seemed very appropriate to have a project in Finn’s name that doesn’t have a ‘commercial’ aspect but is about the enjoyment of producing art for art’s sake, giving artists respite from mental anguish, at least for a while.
Sarah & Ian
From Northern Irish roots Finn grew up in the countryside near the New Forest where his love and interest in the beauty of nature was easily satisfied. He loved the natural world and enjoyed drawing animals especially dogs and birds. He particularly preferred sketching rather than painting as he said himself that he felt more control with the pencil.
Finn was a talented illustrator and his artwork achieved some notable success during his short career and he won a Serco prize for the design of a poster for the London Transport Museum which appeared on London Underground in 2012/13.
We are very excited to have launched The InFinnity Project aimed at using art to help those affected by mental health issues, in memory of our son/step son and brother. Finn sadly took his own life in December 2015 aged 25, having suffered from depression and a form of psychosis for a couple of years. Although he had a short life, he enjoyed many happy times especially during his last two years.
The launch was held at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden and was hosted by Bruce Clark, Finn’s uncle a journalist with the Economist.
Libby Purves kindly spoke about how important it is to allow oneself a creative outlet. Val Huet, CEO of the British Association of Art Therapists spoke movingly of how art helps people who find themselves in extremis cope, and images of work from the Adamson Trust helped to illustrate how important self-expression through art is to the human condition. Dan Walshe from Rethink Mental Illness spoke about how the charity is working to change the perception of mental illness and challenge fears of weakness through education of young people at schools helping to de-stigmatise the subject as well as campaigning for parity with physical health. And Trina Whittaker spoke enthusiastically about how art had helped her son cope with schizophrenia, how much she enjoyed running her Rethink Mental Illness art group and how the members have grown in confidence and general wellbeing.
The InFinnity Project is aimed at adults experiencing mental health issues who would like to produce a work of art reflecting the themes from an image: This years image from Finn was inspired by a Nick Drake’s song ‘Rider on the wheel’ and the themes selected are :
We invite adults affected by mental illness to be inspired to create a piece of art on one of the themes and submit up to three digital images via www.theinfinnityproject.uk by 30th September.
The entries will be reviewed and three will be selected for printing to be sold in aid of Rethink Mental Illness. We have chosen to support Rethink Mental Illness because of the stigma that still surrounds a condition that affects 1 in 4 people. Finn himself felt embarrassed by his illness. It is for this reason that we want to enable people who are affected therapy through artistic activity. It seemed very appropriate to have a project in Finn’s name that doesn’t have a ‘commercial’ aspect but is about the enjoyment of producing art for art’s sake, giving artists respite from mental anguish, at least for a while.
Selected pieces will be announced on World Mental Health Day – 10th October. Although there is no monetary value attached to the project, we hope that there will be sufficient interest to promote the use of art as a therapy for mental illness – and of course to raise awareness and funds!