Cultivating spaces for extraordinary artists

Steph Clark

A close up of artist Steph. She has shoulder length mid brown hair, and wears gold hoop earrings, shimmering blue/grey eye shadow and black eyeline, with flicks.

Steph is a writer and illustrator specialising in mental illness, mental health and being a chronic pain survivor (or spoonie).

Through her website and blog she promotes physical and mental well-being and talks honestly about her decade-long journey with multiple mental illnesses as well as being a mum for a special needs child, living with Long Covid, and life as an ambulatory wheelchair user.

Unfortunately, the thing that makes her most interesting to people is her housebound status. Long Covid symptoms combined with agoraphobia have currently kept Steph indoors for just over 2 years.

Her art style is usually anime or kawaii, but she also enjoys digital illustration of traditional forms including oil paintings of kingfishers and watercolours of the beach.

She works hard to promote her own artwork from home, but without leaving for so long it has proved to be a struggle. Her illustrations have been used as cover art for a magazine and she has an online exhibition with the creative disability charity OutsideIn. She's also a regular artistic contributor to the online mental illness gallery, Mental Inkness. Finally, in 2022 she provided artwork for the National Survivor User Network exhibition. But she'd love to do more, especially for children's books and other publications.

She is a regular artist/writer blog contributor to the national creative charity Disability Arts Online and in April 2022 she became the first 'Creative Volunteer and Mental Health Advocate' for Cruse (South East) - the UK's national bereavement support charity.

Her website is pledged to the Mental Health Media Charter and it's been placed in Feedspot's top 25 Mental Health sites in the UK for over a year.

She developed the Creative Coping Strategies Campaign, which has grown significantly in 2023, and has since been renamed COPE - Creativity Opposing Painful Existence. The COPE Campaign promotes creative ideas to support physical AND mental well-being and tells anyone who needs a distraction just how simple and fun creativity can be.

She's about to start her final year (the 6th year!) of studying for an Open Degree covering Mental Health, Creative Writing and Design with the Open University.

She'd love to meet more artists and build her own virtual creative social group!

An illustration of a Kingfisher bird. The male bird with feathers of blue, orange and white is side on with the beak pointing to the left. The image is set on a mauve background.

'Kingfisher' by Steph Clarke