Doncaster artist shares his experience of art helping him through mental health issues
After suffering from depression a Doncaster man turned to art for relief - his passion project then became a career and he helps others struggling with mental health.
Andy Hollinghurst spent the majority of his career in primary teaching.
Andy, 59, from Bessacarr said: “I was a teacher for 22 years.
“Then a head teacher for the following six years.
“But I suffered from a breakdown which led to being ill for about seven years.”
During this period of bad mental health Andy found solace in art.
“At first I was just painting in my shed,” he said.
“It was a way to portray how I was feeling.
“I gradually started to improve and my subjects became a bit more light hearted.
“Landscapes of the seaside and iconic spots around Doncaster.”
Andy now uses art to help start conversations around mental health with the goal of helping others.
He has a stall in the Corn Exchange and has open and frank discussions with people who come to view his artwork.
“Depression can be a very isolating condition,” he said.
“I’m here to chat and have casual conversations.
“I point people in the right direction if they need medical help but I also talk to them about the benefit of art.
“For myself it allowed me to express all my anxieties on canvas.
“It took me away from my problems and gave me something to focus on.
“I imagine it’s the same as a long walk for some people - just getting away from the intrusive thoughts and spirals.”
Andy said there is also a great sense of achievement when finishing a painting.
There is an emerging art culture in Doncaster that Andy is excited to be a part of.
The new D31 Gallery on Scot Lane is currently displaying his work and Andy has big hopes for the future of the town’s cultural scene.
“It’s simmering at the moment,” he said.
“You can feel it.
“How amazing would it be if we could become a centre for culture.
“Hopefully we can build a movement here in Doncaster.”
See more of Andy’s work here.