Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Lynn Excell and I do a multitude of things! I’m a visual artist, but I also write, take photos, crochet and embroider and I’m always looking for new things to stimulate my imagination. I really enjoy community art and have taken part in several projects in the community. I also work at a local special needs college which is an amazing place with amazing students and staff
What – or who – inspires you?
My sons inspire me every day-my elder son for his compassion and passion about what he believes is right, and my younger son for his resilience and enabling me to view things through an autistic world and see how ridiculous the neuro-typical world is!
I love being in the countryside-my Dad used to be a farm worker and my young life was idyllic-riding on tractors, building dens, making mud pies. The countryside is my solace and it brings me back to reality when our fast, crazy world gets too much. I also love to study people-a lot of my photography and artwork involves studies of people-I will often sit and write a story about the people I see.
As far as my art goes, other local artists inspire me whenever I meet them-our passion to bring art to this city is unbounded and I get excited to think of the future with these folk on board.
How did you get to this point?
It has been a loooooong journey! I left school and went straight to art college, but decided a career in Beauty Therapy was for me instead. I ended up running my own business, then becoming a college lecturer. That led to me becoming a Curriculum Manager. At a devastating point in my life, I decided that life was too short to be planning and stressing 24/7 and so decided to take on a much lower paid role as a teaching assistant in a special needs school. It was challenging, but was just the change I needed as it meant I could also plunge back into what I love-my art. My role now as Senior Learning Mentor means that I can really get involved in the art curriculum alongside my own art projects. I started to ‘get back’ into art by taking up crochet. I then got involved in a group of artists called Global Doodle Gems which produced colouring books and eventually produced my own ‘punky’ colouring book, based on local people. I was then asked to work on a project for an environmental company, where I produced a design on 4 large canvases for the public to colour in. Other projects I’ve been involved in include the ‘Rain Art’ project in the city centre, and producing a huge mural for the college I work at. At 51, I am finally studying for my Creative Arts degree-taking visual art and creative writing as my main subjects.
What’s been your toughest experience so far?
Losing my brother in 2012 suddenly. We were very close and I will never completely recover from his loss.
As far as my art goes, I treat everything as a learning experience and so it is all part of the process of creating, however much hard work is involved.
What’s your proudest achievement?
It changes all the time- receiving my teaching qualification, publishing my own colouring book, having articles in newspapers and online-lots of stuff I’m proud of. I’m extremely proud to know that whenever someone visits our college, they see my artwork. At the moment, the fact that I am finally studying for my degree makes me very proud.
What are you looking forward to?
Getting involved in more projects and creating new artwork that I don’t even know about yet. I’m also looking forward to getting the students involved in more creative activities. Some of the things on the horizon are painting a mural for a local pub, being involved in ‘The Big Draw’, organising artists to exhibit their work at the college, exhibiting my work, taking part in ‘Free Art Friday’ and working with others for the next Chelmsford Festival of Arts and Culture-but there will be lots of other things pop up along the way, there always is!
What single piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Believe in yourself- be proud to be outside the mainstream!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Watching Judge Rinder!
You can find Lynn online by clicking the links below:
Facebook art page: Lynn Excell Art
Facebook photography page: Lynn Excellphotos