When Dimensions key worker Juliette Goddard was paired with talented artist Joe Dolan, she had a feeling it would be a masterpiece.
In addition to supporting Joe with various aspects of daily living, Joe and Juliette are together starting to make waves in the art world. “I’m a former art teacher with two degrees in fine art,” explains Juliette. “So it’s enormously rewarding to use my skills to help someone else. We are very well-matched!”
Over the last year, the duo have travelled from Crawley in West Sussex to exhibitions around London. As a result the 29-year-old has explored the works of artists like Picasso, Jean-Michel Basquiat and David Hockney.
This bond with fellow artists is captured in Joe’s moving blog posts, where he writes: “Art, for me, is a therapy and insight to everything. Where I do not have freedom from my disorder. I find relief and purpose in my own ideas – which are made explainable in form, texture and colour. Through my artistic imagination, I have managed to express my truth to make people recognise me in ways I feel I should be.”
In November 2017, Joe discussed his technique in a presentation for Share Art, which is hosted by charity Outside In. The event enables underrepresented artists to showcase their work. In June Joe is set to deliver a lecture on his work at London’s world famous Royal Academy of Arts.
The sculpture student’s own pieces are composed of wood, stone and clay. Inspired by nature and Celtic geometric shapes, he sketches out the image in chalk before shaping it with clay, firing in a kiln and painting with a glaze.
Support worker Juliette is an accomplished artist in her own right. She has exhibited internationally and has been commissioned to produce works for a variety of clients.
“It’s definitely helped to improve his confidence,” says Juliette. “Joe is extremely intelligent. But his autism can make it difficult for him to put what he has created into words. Now, he’s leading the way.
“From asking people questions to writing blog posts, he’s taught me a lot about communication. It’s fantastic to see him not only creating art but sharing it with others too.”
You can see Joe’s lecture at the Royal Academy free, on June 1. The event begins at 6PM.
Find out more about Joe Dolan and his art, at https://outsidein.org.uk/artists/joe-dolan-at-share-art/
By Charlotte Brazier, Volunteer Storyteller