Pizza boxes and packing cardboard aren’t typically sought-after canvases for artists, but there is nothing typical about emerging artist Daniel Coulson.
A former mathematics student, Coulson discovered his artistic talent during a hospital stay in 2017. Gravitating to the quiet of the art room, he began drawing faces and then furiously scribbling over them, trying to express how he felt.
As his self-described scribbles began to take the shape of faces, Coulson found people connecting with his work, using words such as ‘pain’, ‘despair’ and ‘powerful’ to describe it.
The exhibition is supported by Port Phillip Council’s Access Arts mentoring program which welcomes individual emerging artists with lived experience of disability and/or mental health issues who live or work in Port Phillip.
The mentoring project provides an opportunity for individuals to work closely with Council’s Community Cultural Development Officer to develop skills and increase confidence. The program has a strong focus on the arts, health, wellbeing, and values inclusive artistic processes and outcomes.
In his first major solo exhibition, Aesthetic Distortions, Coulson displays his remarkable flair for drawing portraits.
“When I was admitted to hospital, I was feeling very isolated and disconnected. I started scribbling to show others how I felt,” Coulson said. “Some got it and others didn’t. Then I started putting faces in the scribbles, and more people started to get it. Art is what connects me to others in a profound way and I love it.”
Mayor Dick Gross praised Coulson’s ability to share his inspiring story through art.
“Daniel’s portraits give the audience incredible insight into his lived experience of mental health. Council is proud to support Aesthetic Distortions, an outstanding exhibition which demonstrates the healing power of art,” Cr Gross said.
Coulson is the first artist to be supported by the Access Arts program to be successful in securing the Carlisle Street Arts Space for a solo exhibition.
Aesthetic Distortions can be viewed at the Carlisle Street Arts Space from Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5 pm, except Thursdays 8.30 am to 7 pm, from 10 July to 7 August 2019. Entry is free.
A ‘Meet the Artist’ event will be held from 5 to 7 pm on Thursday 25 July.
Works by Daniel Coulson: Untitled 2019 (L) and Boxes 2019 (R).