Sam & Errol: An Exhibition

This May 8th, Submit to Love’s Sam Jevon & Errol Drysdale will see their new exhibition at the Dugdale Centre Enfield, open to the public; with a focus on what it really means to be an artist and how the life of the creator can influence the final product.

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Enfield locals, the two weren’t always artists. Before a car accident in 2006 that saw her sustain a severe brain injury, mum of two Sam actually had little interest in drawing. Errol meanwhile spent many years navigating growing up with a brain injury after being knocked down by a car in 1974 aged just 10. Each had vastly different paths, however, they both found a passion and talent for art with the support of Submit to Love Studios. As active members for 8 and 18 years respectively, Sam and Errol are two of the studio's most prolific and well-loved artists. 
 
Despite the shared experience of brain injury and its impact, Sam & Errol explore different approaches to artistic practice, in a juxtaposition that serves to highlight the diversity of human perspective. Sam will often start by picking a photograph or magazine image that catches her eye. To look at the originals they hold no obvious link – tropical fish sit alongside fashion models and vast buildings – however each picture emerges as a minutely detailed study of everyday life and objects. Errol's self-portraits are explorations in identity and wish fulfilment, showing himself both as he is and how he would like to be. They sometimes feature his wheelchair, sometimes not, instead showing Errol the fireman, Errol the fisherman, Errol the hero of the day. There are no mobility problems in the worlds he creates for himself – his wheelchair is capable of scaling columns and taking to the sky, as light as a feather.

“Brain injury adds a part of my imagination. In every way, I'm certain.” – Errol Drysdale

At Submit to Love studios, artists work in a collaborative environment, sharing space, materials and ideas with each other. Fellow artist and Headway East London member Billy Mann works alongside Sam and Errol every Thursday and has watched their work develop in recent years, commenting: 
 
“Every week I watch them, Sam lost in total concentration in the smallest of smallest detail, working her trusty ink pen, Errol squeezing out the last bit of fun and colour he can find in whatever he is drawing (often it is The Queen). Both of them have earned their attention, and both have created the most honest self-portraits you are ever likely to see. I love them both, for what they do and who they are.” 
 

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We sat down with the two well-loved artists to chat about their work and the upcoming exhibition: 
 
How are you both feeling about the exhibition, are you excited? 
 
Sam: Quite good, I've had a few exhibitions before but this is big because my family are going to go.  
Errol: Having this exhibition, I feel over the moon and under the stars!
 
Your work is really different, Sam’s focus is detail and her unique, wonky perspective and Errol, your work is like a vibrant dream. What do you like about each other's work? 
 
Sam: I like it because Errol has his own ideas and then puts them down onto paper. He's got a unique style. 
Errol: Sam's work is great. Wonderful, wunderbar! 
 
What do you both enjoy about the creative process; how does it make you feel? 
 
Errol: you can express your feelings on paper, but you can't say it out loud. It helps me to think about what I'm doing and what I'm saying.  
Sam: I like art a lot, I can see how over time I've improved a lot. It improved my concentration.  
Errol: Slowly but surely, I improved. 
 
When someone's looking at your work, how do you want them to feel about it? What's the reaction you're looking for?  
 
Sam: Surprise. Like they can't believe that I've done it.  
 
So you like the shock factor! 
 
Sam: Yes definitely! 
Errol: (sings) I did it my way!  

How do you both decide on your subject?  
 
Errol: When I see something, it makes me want to draw, like St Paul’s. Going there and seeing it. That made me want to draw it.  
 
Do you both draw from life or pictures?  
 
Sam: I draw from pictures most of the time. I like pictures because of the detail, I like to challenge myself.  
Errol: I draw from my mind, the colours make me want to draw it. It's like a dream.  
 
Do you think having a brain injury makes you see the world differently? 
 
Sam: I always say, I do what I'm best at. But before my accident I could only draw match stick people. The brain injury made me more artistic. I'm more chilled than I used to be, perhaps that's why.  
Errol: Yes. It's only an accident, so I forget it sometimes and do what I'm doing. Brain injury adds a part of my imagination. In every way, I'm certain.  
 
 
The exhibition will be held from Tuesday 8th May – Friday 1st June from 10am-5pm (Sunday 10am - 1pm), and visitors will have the opportunity to Meet The Artist on Thursday 17th May from 12-1pm

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