Big Issue readers are a talented bunch, and they’re always finding creative ways to support our vendors.
This was recently demonstrated by Maidenhead-based Carole Baughan, who creates striking artworks by carefully cutting up pages of the magazine and arranging them in animal-inspired designs, most recently created the image of a stag (pictured above).
Baughan, a retired former midwife and teaching assistant, has been creating the collages for ten years and already has a record of using them to raise cash for The Big Issue.
“It was an idea I had at my art class,” she said. “I wanted to do a collage of a golden eagle and I had a copy of the magazine in my bag. I gave it a go and it worked.”
The “wildlife-daft” amateur artist sold a number of the pieces in 2015 and raised nearly £500 for The Big Issue Foundation, our charitable arm.
Fast forward to this year, Baughan said she turned back to her art – and The Big Issue – to help keep her occupied during lockdown.
“It’s so wonderful how you have managed to look after the vendors,” she said. “And having the magazine subscription delivered is amazing.
“I read my mag from cover to cover and pick them up whenever I’m away.”
Her art has previously gone international – after the amateur artist picked up a copy of The Big Issue Australia while in Perth and used it to create the image of a tui, a bird native to New Zealand, for her sister-in-law’s birthday.
The artist said each pieces takes her between two to three days to complete, starting with a pencil drawing from reference photos.
“Then I take the magazine and leaf through it looking for print, colours and type that suits what I’m doing,” she said. Baughan has even created several hedgehog pieces using the crossword and sudoku squares from our puzzle section.
There’s a hidden Easter egg to be found in each piece too. She makes sure a piece of print with The Big Issue’s web address is on a scrap hidden in the picture – take a look towards the bottom of the stag.
“I’ve bought the The Big Issue all my life,” she said. “I think you have all done a marvellous job of getting the vendors off the street and reinventing the way we can all get the magazine.”
And Baughan hopes her art can go on to help support our vendors when the crisis has passed, with plans to organising an exhibition of her work to raise more money for The Big Issue.
Art is helping people get through the pandemic in a big way. We spoke to the organisers at the 240 Project which has been helping vulnerable people through isolation by making sure they have creative outlets, even if they have to meet on Zoom.