My art is rocketing in recovery

Martin is attracting a lot of attention from our local Shoreditch community.

“I was a real party head. I started on the little drugs and then very quickly was using pretty much everything.

Towards the end I had no money so I just drank. I couldn’t hold down a job as I had all the craziness that comes with addiction: failed co-dependent relationships, paranoia, feelings of isolation and huge issues with my self-esteem. It was to a level of insanity.”

"Towards the end I had no money so I just drank. I couldn’t hold down a job as I had all the craziness that comes with addiction: failed co-dependent relationships, paranoia, feelings of isolation and huge issues with my self-esteem. It was to a level of insanity.”

This time it’s not his old partying antics that are causing a stir, but his amazing creativity.

Over the last few weeks, locals have been able to watch Martin busily painting a funky geometric mural on the shed in St. Leonard’s Church gardens. “The other day a woman came running out of her house and said: ‘Is this permanent? Oh I hope so!’ She’s always looking out of her window and is really enjoying my work which is great!”

And it’s easy to see why locals are heaping praise on him. Describing his mural as ‘contemporary, soothing and mellow’, Martin has painfully used a spirit-level for each line of each small square and has successfully transformed an old wall into a dazzling piece of art.

“He’s really developing his own style” said Kat, our New Hanbury Project (NHP) art teacher who’s been teaching Martin over the last 18 months. “He knows what he likes and is exploring large-scale artwork.”
 
As a regular art student at NHP - our personal development and training centre for recovering addicts – he’s been able to dedicate time, effort and focus  to his creativity.

“My art has rocketed since I started coming to the New Hanbury Project. Kat is a great artist and I get a lot from her. She gives you the freedom to let you do the things you want to do if it will help you.  She’s very experienced, well trained and has been an immense help in lots of aspects of my art.”

“My art has rocketed since I started coming to the New Hanbury Project. Kat is a great artist and I get a lot from her. She gives you the freedom to let you do the things you want to do if it will help you.  She’s very experienced, well trained and has been an immense help in lots of aspects of my art.”

Just 2 years ago, Martin’s life was very different. “I used to wake up scared, thinking ‘Can I get hold of the drugs that I need today?’

I went downhill for about 4 years until I was literally on my knees. I realised I was in a bad place and knew there were just 2 ways out: death or going to places where other addicts go to get help.”

Thankfully, Martin chose the latter and knew he needed to start his recovery immediately. “You’ve got to really want to do it to make it work. During that first period, it was hell. I couldn’t sleep and it felt as if my skin was crawling. I got myself into a dry house and the House Manager put me onto the New Hanbury Project.

I’ve had ups and downs in my recovery but NHP have always welcomed me back and given me another chance.”

"I’ve had ups and downs in my recovery but NHP have always welcomed me back and given me another chance.”

Right now, Martin is pouring all his spare time into putting his stamp on St. Leonard’s Church gardens.

“I’ve always loved art, ever since I was able to pick up a pencil but I could never do it while I was using.

I’ve really got into it and now my goal is to try to make a living from it and find somewhere permanent to live. I put a lot of work in my art every day which is great as I’ve never been able to dedicate myself to it so much until now. It just wasn’t possible before when my life was so chaotic.”

A gentle man, Martin is putting as much effort into his art as he is to making sure he stays on his personal road to recovery. He remains cautiously optimistic.

“Personally, I have to remain ever-vigilant. No matter how I’m doing, there will always be this thing that I have which may creep back in. It’s not the drugs that are a problem, it’s that I can really fixate on something – a bit like a control freak.

I’ve seen people die from addiction. I’ve lived with people who went from immense positivity to lose their footing and within the space of 4 months, commit suicide. It’s amazing how much can happen in such a little amount of time.

It’s a bit scary at the moment as I can see where I was just 2 years ago and how far I’ve come. It’s amazing and I feel really blessed that I’ve come across so many people that have helped me.”

"It’s a bit scary at the moment as I can see where I was just 2 years ago and how far I’ve come. It’s amazing and I feel really blessed that I’ve come across so many people that have helped me.”

Good luck Martin and please keep on brightening up these corners of our Shoreditch!

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