When you meet Mark Shamely the first impressions are of a nice guy who is sensitive to all around him. Later on; it is obvious that this is a man who has stepped into the cauldron of life that we are given and come out with a way of living that gives him satisfaction and relief from the trials of life.
Born in London about 50 years ago his youth was spent being abused so he went on the road in his teens in old van which he slept in while he was working as a slaughter man for about fifteen years. This took him up to Barrow-in-Furness and across to Northern Ireland. He also spent seven years in Portsmouth. During all this time, apart from painting as a child, there was no real calling to be an artist. During this years he lived with his demons and coped with them by taking drugs and having the same relationship which has lasted for twenty-five years.
Finally, in 2012, Mark went into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Therapy in Camden. This helped him to deal with his abusive childhood verbally as he did not feel able to write about it.
He now uses a computer and gets his material in the field by drawing on anything, scraps of paper, flyers, anything. He then comes home and uses computer graphics and a paint programme with no photo shopping. Sometimes he will take pictures if he does not do a simple line drawing. His work can be darkly related to his past, or lighter and brighter.
One of Mark’s difficulties is that he shakes a lot which involves a lot of errors which is were the computer is helpful. He does not use art shop supplies because he has never been able to afford them. A lot of his work is done with his beloved dog Kia, a cross between a bull mastiff and an American bulldog. Mark tells me that he talks to His dog and that she knows him better than anyone – the perfect therapist, listening and non-judgmental!
Having been a drug addict for a long time which he has finally moved on from the hard stuff but there is still a programme of prescribed medication to deal with. He plans to move on from this programme. One of the great positives in Mark’s life is his partner of twenty-five years who is a great support and keeps him grounded but who, notably, doesn’t treat him with kid gloves.
Mark is up for change and fluidity and is keen to question his fears so that any fear is taken away to give him the ability to cope with his life. This could happen when he wakes up and when he goes to bed! He also attends workshops at The Phoenix Project at Mind in Camden where he manages an addiction workshop. He also does work for Voiceability.
It is so good to meet someone who developed a set of coping techniques which have made them into a compassionate and productive citizen; quite a humbling experience!
Christopher Mason 2015.