Meet the Artlift Team

Our Artists

Meet our Artists

Amy Freeman

Amy Freeman

Artist

I have been a practicing artist since graduating in 2003. My practice includes Art installation, Performance to video, Textiles, Street Art, Craftvism, Animation and Alternative Photographic processes amongst others.

Formally trained as a foundry Sculptor (BA), I later studied in the more conceptual realm of Social Sculpture and Connective Practice (MA).  Identifying as a neuro-divergent artist, I am interested in the link between the creative process and divergent thinking. I also have determination to break down the barriers and taboos surrounding hidden disabilities through my work and the relationships within it.

I have worked in the dual worlds of art practice and social care in a variety of settings for over 20 years. I have a passion for sharing my love of the creative process and my belief in the positive effects that making Art can have on wellbeing and our all-round happiness.

Annet Richards Binns

Annet Richards Binns

Artist

I am a Yoga Teacher, Dance Teacher and Choreographer, Global Play Trainer, Creative Workshop Facilitator, Artist and budding Writer. I love rituals, make decorative art and write anecdotes on wellbeing & my reverence for all life.

The eldest of four sisters, I migrated from Jamaica to London in the mid-nineties and went on to create the pioneering Cool Runnings Children’s Project in Gloucester. I have extensive experience facilitating sessions and artistic projects for multiple arts organisations and schools and am a regular contributor to Carnivals and Festivals like St Paul’s Carnival in Bristol and Womad.

I encourage people to uplift themselves from within, appreciate the gifts of their lives and seek to empower & inspire all to express their creative self, be who they are and keep on igniting their joy in life.

Brenda Read-Brown

Brenda Read-Brown

Artist

I started writing and performing poetry in 1997, and have been working as a fulltime freelance poet, writer and facilitator since 2001. I’ve been with Artlift since it started, and my sessions are among my most rewarding activities.

I lead participants through games and writing exercises, and try to make every session enjoyable – there’s lots of laughter.

I have two important aims: I want participants to have fun and to feel proud of what they have achieved. Everyone starts in a different place, and one thing I love about our groups is the support the participants give to each other; everyone realises that it’s the process that is helping them.

It’s a real joy to see people blossom through creativity – not only in their writing, but in their confidence and wellbeing.

David Davies

David Davies

Artist

My background is in youth work, BBC Radio feature-making, community arts and further education.

 I’m passionate about changing lives through creativity. I focus on each participant’s interests and life experiences, and am trained in Health Coaching and Motivational Interviewing.

 As a Creative Navigator and in my group sessions, I draw on creative tools to help people find their own way forwards. Everyone is encouraged to express themselves, whether that’s through poetry, the spoken word, found objects, or collage.

The courses I run are informal, social, supportive and fun so that everyone can grow in confidence, make new friends, nurture useful skills, and improve their health and wellbeing. Within this new-found creative space, the group becomes a real lifeline. Many set up Move On groups that run on for years to come. It’s wonderful to see everyone continue to support and inspire each other because they know the huge difference that creativity has made in their lives.

Emma Cleasby

Emma Cleasby

Artist

I began my career backstage: designing, painting, costume making. Then I did a sideways jump onstage and worked for a long time as an actor in theatre, TV and film.

Since moving to Gloucestershire, I’ve been a director, writer and teacher. Throughout it all, I’ve been a creative facilitator. I’ve led lots of very different groups and I’m always delighted by how much just meeting and making something, can lift the day. I especially enjoy creating and sharing stories – using anything from photography and favourite tunes to swapping recipes and recording birdsong. Every group is different and it’s my job to find out what interests you, what’s comfortable and what’s exciting.

We’ll start with a mix of making, writing, games and talking, to find out what gets us going. Above all, I want participants to enjoy their time together, feel supported and be surprised by their own creativity.

Jim Brook

Jim Brook

Artist

I am an artist, theatre director, film soundtrack composer, musician, recording engineer, curator and writer. I joined Artlift in 2019 and take great pleasure in enabling our participants to re-engage with the world around them through photography and film. I studied Fine Art at Chelsea School of Art, and went on to pursue a music career. I record and produce music and have created sound installations for the Arts Council of Wales and the National Trust.

My PhD resulted in the Stroud-based performance company Hand in Glove. I’m passionate about sharing my skills in schools and universities, including as an Associate Lecturer at The University of the Arts London. I’m excited about the way creativity can change lives, so this is a very natural step for me to be a part of the Artlift team.

JPDL (Dave)

JPDL (Dave)

Your Next Move Artist

I started out with spoken word and rap lyricism in my early teens and went on to be in many bands. I have written everything from Christmas hip hop plays to stark spoken word to raise awareness of knife crime. My favourite commission was for NHS frontline staff, projected onto the side of Gloucester Royal Hospital to say thank you for their help through the pandemic.

I’m still very much involved in the hip hop scene, with my last release pressed to vinyl and performing at festivals and hip hop nights across the UK.

I enjoy running workshops in schools and universities. I run courses for Artlift’s Create Well and Living Well with Chronic Pain programmes in collaboration with Your Next Move. I’m looking forward to inspiring everyone to write their own hip hop lyrics, and lifting spirits at this difficult time when many are struggling with anxiety and depression.

Julie Matthews

Julie Matthews

Artist

I am a Bristol-based artist, theatre maker and arts facilitator with many years’ experience working with people to create original work in response to a commission, environment or community.

I trained in Spatial Design and Theatre Design and love using these skills to create theatrical environments and events that surprise, delight and move people, bringing a touch of magic to our everyday lives.

My work in arts for wellbeing is central to my creativity. Through a variety of simple art techniques and accessible materials, I hope to enable participants to explore and develop their own creativity in new and unexpected ways; to nurture their self-belief; and to open up the limitless possibilities of art.

Nick Moore

Nick Moore

Artist

I am an artist and writer based in Bristol. I’ve been with Artlift right from the start in 2007. With over 35 years as an artist, tutor and lecturer, I have run painting and drawing courses in galleries, museums, community venues and my own studio. Over this time, I have witnessed the very real difference that art can make to our wellbeing.

I focus on painting and drawing and enjoy helping each person find their own unique voice, grow in confidence and develop new skills. With so many avenues to explore, there’s no right or wrong way.

Artlift is a safe space, away from all the pressures of life. I get huge satisfaction when I see people so deeply absorbed that they can relax and unwind, both physically and emotionally.

The more you look, the more you see. To paint and draw is to learn to see the world in a new way – for some people this can be a life-changing experience.

Ronnie McGarth

Ronnie McGarth

Artist

I am a creator of words and images – a writer and poet who also paints and exhibits my art in local galleries. As a teacher and facilitator, I value the act of spontaneity and privilege the imagination through a play with words.

Art, which incorporates writing as well, has certainly transformed my life in a positive way, and I would like it to do the same for as many people as possible – it is a great healer. In my sessions you will cut, paste, write, paint, make marks, interpret, experiment, but most of all have fun in a safe space whilst building a meaningful community.

For many years I have facilitated art and creative writing workshops in schools, colleges, universities, prisons, hospitals, and charities. There is nothing I like more than to see people expressing themselves and pushing the boundaries of their creativity.

Slaz (Tim)

Slaz (Tim)

Your Next Move Artist

I’m a professional illustrator, graffiti artist and muralist from Cheltenham, with a BA degree and MA in Illustration from the University of Gloucestershire. I’m skilled in a number of styles, from graffiti to traditional painting, and more technical, line art.

I run workshops for people of all ages and enjoy inspiring others to create their own graffiti.

I run Artlift courses in collaboration with Your Next Move, sometimes delivering alongside JPDL (Dave) using ‘call and response’, so that everyone can bring their hip hop lyrics to life through graffiti.

Susie Walker

Susie Walker

Artist

I work hard to get a supportive space where everyone can tap into their creativity and learn new techniques, from silk painting to rag rugging, needle felting, printing, drawing and sculpture.

I encourage participants to reflect and enjoy the creative process through play. Simple creative tasks build confidence and skills as we share and explore ideas together.

People are often amazed by their achievements. After gently holding people, it is so exciting to hear that they are drawing, painting, or making every day. Some are even selling work, off to art college, or running classes. I’m really inspired by the change that creativity brings.