At beatredundancyblues we love a good redundancy success story. Artist Matthew Evans, tells us about his.
I was originally made redundant in September 2012. Looking back it has been quite a whirlwind year and all of those old clichés are still going around in my head, “they’ve done you a favour”, “everything happens for a reason“ and “they didn’t deserve you”. All very kind words at the time but initially I wasn’t convinced. I had never had that much confidence in my previous job, even though I had held on to it for twenty one years. The truth is, looking back I was in a rut and going nowhere, a comfortable, yet empty existence. The one thing I did have going for me was my artwork, which I have done as a hobby for all of my life. Originally I wanted to be a journalist and enjoyed writing at school but was convinced to go with my head and not my heart and studied graphics. I went into greeting cards and although I never did much card illustration in my job, my art exhibiting hobby began to develop. Unfortunately, the day never came when I had the nerve to leave my job. That decision was made for me when I was made redundant. Going back to those well worn clichés, I thought they might right.
I was unemployed for three months and did the usual looking at job pages but found that many jobs were specialised. I continued to paint and set about scanning my art and registered with an artists agency. Although I realised this would take a while, it gave me focus. Also, my daughter’s school, that is just around the corner, asked me to volunteer in class a few days a week. I toyed with the idea of teaching assistant and looked into courses, something which still interests me. I was going in all different directions but keeping busy.
Then the breakthrough, I went to an open day for an insurance customer service job working on the telephones, which I had never done before. Because training was included and they said they were more interested in personality and personal attributes than experience, I decided to apply. I got the job and what a transformation it has been. Over the last ten months, it hasn’t been easy and I have been faced with a lot of challenges but this is what I needed to lift me from my rut. I had my days of low confidence and “what am I doing?”. I stuck at it and now I have a new vocation which I never would have thought of before. The support I have received from new colleagues and the team leaders has been fantastic. There is a long way to go but at least I am going somewhere and I can look back and see the meanings of those clichés – “Redundancy is not the end but a chance for a new beginning” and “don’t be a afraid of trying something new.”
Regarding my other interests, my new employer is also very active in the community, so maybe I can volunteer in schools and arts projects as part of their day to make a difference scheme. My art continues with a few sales from the agency and I am now making my own range of handmade cards available in local coffee shops. I am hoping to develop this in the future so that these are also featured on the websites I subscribe to. It is important to have the best of all worlds as my art has always been a constant companion and it is still there. My new employers are also showing interest in my art. I still need to work on my self-belief and overcome a few more challenges to build confidence and maybe that eventual breakthrough will come. From my own experience, I would say, keep positive and try all avenues, as you never know which is the one. Believe in yourself even in the dark days and never be scared to accept help, there is a lot out there. I fully support what Sandra is doing with this site and hope to continue my links in the future.
My story will continue and if you want to see my work please visit:
I produce commissions for private buyers with subjects including pets, houses, landscapes and portraits and take part in many local and national exhibitions. My work features regularly in local newspapers and is used to raise money for various charities. I specialise in capturing the atmospheric effects of light on water at evening and sunset inspired by trips to Cumbria, Wales Scotland and Europe.
In recent years I have continued to build my local profile in local shows, especially through my work with several art societies most notably The Huddersfield Art Society. In 2011, I was pleased to be asked to serve as their President, after carrying out a number of roles on their Council.
In September 2011, I took part in a group show with Barry De More and Matthew Midgley at the Smith Gallery, Brighouse. I exhibited forty pieces in a show which was well received by the public and Council alike, and it achieved good sales. During this show I was also asked to discuss my work with several school groups to encourage them to produce their own pieces for the Peter Brook Art Prize.
I was thrilled to be asked to take part in this year’s Brighouse Arts Festival to coincide with The Queen’s Jubilee.
My internet presence is building and in late 2011 my work was included on www.Londonart.co.uk.
I hope that 2013 will herald more exciting opportunities to continue my own development and help others to fulfil their full potential also.