Malcolm Allen is Whelkboy.
In a past life I have been securely and productively employed as an enthusiastic, creative type, a fountain of ideas and concepts, a fruitful tree in the graphics garden, if you like. I was at least superficially successful, content and well rewarded for my efforts. Strange then, that I should abandon my life of hedonistic satisfaction, to embark on a less than glamorous career as a full-time alcoholic.
I was, I found, rather gifted at that too. No more precision and careful consideration for me, recklessness and disregard were to be the new tools of my new trade. It was not a sudden leap across the job market, more a step, an opening into a gradual transition, made easier for me because it was all downhill. Like anyone with a similar purpose, I made sure that the opening gave way to a broad passage of disadvantage and self-destruction. So broad was the path that I lost all sense of direction. Not surprisingly it too me far too long to make my way back. It was so easy to get in but the devil to extract myself from.
Mercifully, for all that was lost on that excursion; self, family, friends and all things material, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual there was one thing that I’d carried with me, so well secreted and so well hidden that I’d quite forgotten about it, and yet it emerged triumphant at the end, bright and untarnished. It was a passion for all things visual; my original love was as vibrant and true as the first time we met. Since her return she has been more faithful than ever, as a result I’m creating again.
Painting has proven to be the most beneficial and selfish of therapies; my early efforts mirrored where I was at the time, uncomfortable, ugly, sullen, lonely, angry and self-pitying. Over time those rough edges have been smoothed with ideas of strength, resilience, adaptability, beauty and pleasure.
I now live and continue to learn how to paint in Folkestone’s Creative Quarter, it’s such a joyous, and settled experience. Come to think about it … it’s addictive.