John was born in South West Ireland in 1949. He emigrated to London in the 1950s and has worked as a builder and roofer, but endured lengthy spells of unemployment. He has experienced periods of homelessness and suffered mental health problems. In 1999 he first discovered his natural ability and enjoyment of painting, encouraged by The Big Issue. He has since exhibited at Somerset House, The British Museum, The Royal Academy and in Europe. John is also highly regarded by art journal Raw Vision and art charity Outside In.
“I’m 49 years old and have a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia which is largely under control by the correct medication,” says Chris. “I grew up in Littlehampton and I’ve lived in Brighton for over 20 years. I've been using computers to create images, animations, interactive pieces and music since the early 1990s. These images are hand drawn then treated and colourised in Photoshop.” See more of Chris’s work at: chrisgrayartist.com
Carmel, who submits her work via London homelessness charity the 240 Project, describes herself as ‘a lone wolf’. “My work comes straight out my head, it’s happy and sad,” she says. “At the end of the day, how you feel comes out on the paper, in the colours and the shapes. I get inspired by people at the project and value their comments and honest advice. We are like a family.”
Stephen served two years of a four-year prison sentence at HMP Lewes, Sussex. “While I was in prison I was given the choice of working in the workshop, or going to education,” he says. “I chose education. I was very mental ill, and practising art was a real benefit to my mental health. I applied to college on release but didn’t have anywhere to live. Luckily since release I have been in temporary, supported housing, and doing well at college.”
Steve submits his artwork via London homelessness charity the 240 Project. He taught himself to draw at a young age from reading DC comic books. “My drawing feels more technical than artistic. Puzzles, crosswords and historical facts influence my thoughts and occupy my time, though my work comes from my imagination. I don't feel in any rush when working, I just take my time, each line is considered, not instinctive. I’m not sure why my landscapes and towns often lack people. Maybe because I like solitude.”
Tangerine is a mixed media artist, photographer and graphic designer born in Italy in 1979 and now living in Brighton. “Art has always been a very important part of my life,” she says. “I have been trying to create something new and personal, looking at the inner side of my personality, along with my experience of anxiety and social issues. I am really inspired by music, and my artworks always try to express what music means to me.”
Mango submits his art via London homelessness charity the 240 Project. He’s a London-based graffiti artist who has been in the game for about 20 years. He describes his skills as including “crazy fades, wild-styles and cool characters”. He is also known for his gothic art and his work as an MC and compere.