Art Works: Shane Buckingham

Words: Shane Buckingham
Friday 18 August 2017
reading time: min, words

The local artist reveals how drawing is a welcome "side effect" of his brain injury...


Following a brain injury, I really struggle to pass time. My concentration is extremely limited, I can’t socialise the way I used to, and I have continuous thoughts in my head that I need to express. Speaking verbally is difficult for me, but creativity flows freely since the injury. This is why I started to put my thoughts onto paper and canvas, or basically anything I can paint and draw on.

This is an illustration I created by closing my eyes and drawing lines to create a random shape for the face. Made on heavy-duty paper, with a mixture of charcoal pencils, Derwent Inktense pencils and water, I created it because I wanted to express my feelings and random thoughts at the time.

I started this piece in my kitchen at around 2am. That’s when ideas come to me; usually when I need to sleep. It took me about two hours to create, and I finished it in my family kitchen in Newcastle. When a family member first saw it, their first words were “fossil tail”, so that’s what I called it. People always ask me where I get my ideas from, and I like to joke and say “It’s a side effect of my brain injury.”

My partner told me that I used to draw when I was in a postictal state, particularly after an absent seizure. She felt some of the drawings were very deep, and a clear sign of the struggles I was facing at the time. That made me want to continue it further, so I set up the website Broken Brain, a place for me to showcase my work. Art has become a huge part of my rehab, and now my children join in with me; one of the many “side effects” that I hope continues.

I hope that my art in some way makes light of things, and in the future I‘d love to use my website and creativity as a platform to support brain injury survivors. Headway Nottingham, a charity that helps other brain-injured patients and their families, have been a huge support. I attend once a week and I can continue my drawings or paintings while I’m there, as well as interact with people with different stories.

Shane Buckingham website

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