James' story. 'I joined an art therapy class and I completely fell in love with art. It completely changed my life.'

“I joined an art therapy class and I completely fell in love with art. It completely changed my life. Some people would say it actually saved my life, and I think it did. 

I believe in colour, texture, detail, they’re my three components. My art work - some people would say it’s a mix between flowers and jewellery. It’s more representative, not of me, I would say probably more of nature. I love the integration, I love the colour, I love the texture.

My first time on the street was horrific. I was in a park, I was under a tree, I was pissed on by rain, and I was in the middle of having a nervous breakdown.  I didn’t know what to do, I had no one with me, and I was in a really bad way - a really bad way.

But art is my life now. I’ve started my own business, I’ve got a residency in an arts studio in central London. I’ve got a flat, I’m happy. I live near to the British Museum, what can I say? I live next to art. I can go in the British museum every single day of the week. I mean you couldn’t get better story than that could you? I used to have a sleeping bag on a step and now my sleeping bag is outside the British Museum except it’s indoors. If this doesn’t steal your heart, nothing will.

Believe it or not on the streets you have your good times and your bad times, but you know what, you meet some amazing people with some amazing stories. I met a lot of nice people I have to admit.

The art therapy was the change in me. More than the art therapy - art itself. It gives you substance. It offered me a different life. As long as I’ve got food on the table, as long as I’ve got shelter, I’m happy.

Homelessness actually gave me this studio. It’s really weird. It actually opened the door for me and I’m forever grateful. I’m an artist because I was homeless. I couldn’t get a better story than that.”

James, London

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