An accomplished artist recently showed his work in an exhibition called Colour my World at Grafton Regional Gallery. His name is David Carroll and he is living with Parkinson’s.
David – now in his early seventies – was diagnosed with Parkinson’s two years ago but he recognised some symptoms as long as a decade ago, including tiredness and lethargy.
Regardless of his symptoms, David says art has always been his clearest form of expression. After a long career as an electrician, David enrolled in university as a full-time student to formally study art.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Hons) in 2016. It was during those years of study that he began to recognise issues with his handwriting.
“It’s actually hard to tell how much Parkinson’s has directly influenced my work because creative development is always a process of change,” said David.
“However, living with Parkinson’s changes lots of things; my choice of media and the way that I physically approach painting, and inevitably the subject matter.
Nowadays he tends to work with acrylic paints combined with other media such as charcoal and inks.
“Acrylic is a medium you can put down and come back to, whereas oils take a very long time to dry. That’s important to me now because I experience ‘freezing of gait’ and can no longer stand for long periods,” he said.
For David, Colour my World was much more than a creative outlet; he wanted the exhibition to raise awareness of Parkinson’s.
He also considers that his art has developed into a form of practice led
“As I age and my Parkinson’s progresses, I feel there is still so much
I have to say. I am very conscious of the time factor.”
David credits his membership of a Parkinson’s NSW Support Group and participation in an exercise class as helping him stay physically and mentally strong.
“The beauty of being in a support group is that you don’t have to explain yourself because everyone is in the same boat. Everyone understands and shares, and we’re all focused on
doing the best we can,” he said.
David is gifted with words as well as visual art. He publishes a monthly newsletter that talks about both his art and his daily experiences while living with Parkinson’s.
David’s plain-spoken musings and anecdotes about living with Parkinson’s in a small regional community have attracted
subscribers from as far afield as several Australian states, the UK and America – including people with Parkinson’s and their friends and family members, as well as healthcare workers.
If you are interested in subscribing to David’s free personal e-newsletter, please contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org