A COVENTRY man who suffered from chronic spinal pain and recovered from a sudden heart attack has been using his surprising talent as an artist to fight through the pain barrier and pay for his medical bills.
‘Accidental artist’ Ian Hart, from Stoke, has suffered two major setbacks in life but on both occasions his skills as an artisit have enabled him to bounce back stronger.
Eight years ago the 34-year-old was forced to quit work and his love of cricket because of chronic spinal pain which came close to destroying his life.
The former builder underwent life-changing surgery four years ago which saw him given an artificial disc and to overcome the pain Ian stumbled upon a new hidden talent.
“I found that drawing took my mind off the pain,” Ian told the Observer.
“I just started drawing from left to right and it made me feel relaxed.
“It was my pain relief. I call it ‘doodling’ and it’s difficult to explain but I tend to draw lines and symbols on the page.
“I couldn’t draw before and in fact I’d struggled to draw but I just developed this style and it made me feel relaxed.
“I couldn’t afford to buy painkillers but I didn’t need them because when I was drawing it took my mind off the pain. Drawing was my medication.”
Ian continued with his impressive drawings but was dealt another major blow two years ago when he suffered from a surprise hereditary heart attack.
At the time his partner and now fiancé, Hayley Morris, was pregnant with daughter Evie Jayne Heart.
And once again Ian turned to his new talent to help him through the pain despite not having lifted a pen or pencil previously in his life.
“My partner was four-five months pregnant at the time of my heart attack and so I started getting thoughts about how I wouldn’t get to meet my daughter and the anxiety crippled me.
“But again I was able to use the drawing to control that.
“After my heart attack I straight away began drawing on a 19ft long piece of wallpaper and what I produced took me over five weeks but it took my mind of the pain.
“I used to enjoy the more physical side of life but that’s all changed now. My strength is now my weakness.”
Ian is now hoping his inspiration story will inspire others to draw on their inner talents and he also has big plans for the future.
He added: “I’ve not got a great sense of achievement and I want to help others.
“I’ve got a few community projects lined up which I’m really looking forward to and I’ve also looked into starting up my own clothing brand and art therapy books.
“Drawing has calmed me down. I haven’t got an off switch but I rest in motion. My body is tired but my brain remains active.”
Keep an eye out for an exhibition of Ian’s work which is expected to take place at the Bulls Head pub on Binley road before Christmas.
To view more of Ian’s work visit facebook.com/Coventryarts or facebook.com/Etchcreations