I was a teen mother in the early 90's, until I escaped an abusive relationship to become a single mother at the time of the Millennium.
I decided to continue my career as an artist and illustrator, and to this aim, I was offered a place at the University of Lincoln to study the joint honours degree Fine Art & Illustration, which I successfully achieved as a single parent, despite my ex husband's insistence that I could not do it.
However, I graduated in 2008, just as the recession hit.
I was still practising as a Fine Artist, with a multidisciplinary practice working internationally with some very high profile musicians, and I ran a postgraduate art group known as Lincoln Artists' Network, curating solo and group exhibitions, peer to peer mentoring, empty shops projects and events, until in 2013, my son became ill, and I became a carer.
In 2012, I had already conceived the concept of the graphic novel, and I changed focus to work on Cloudbusting, finishing in 2017.
Cloudbusting is based on a dream I awoke with after going to sleep reading Eric Drooker's Flood. It combines the same imagery and narrative as Flood, but crucially, from the perspective of a single mother, seeking work, and suffering various problems - grief, lack of graduate work available, my son's bullying at school, a bad landlord, and eviction. In the dream, I was working with a lecturer on some kind of experiment, and serendipitously, I came across Kate Bush's Cloudbusting video, and I proposed that this could be conflated with the relentless rain depicted in Flood.
Lincoln was at that time at risk of flooding, and has since experienced similar weather, so Cloudbusting refers to that, and also the original narrative based on Wilhelm Reich, whose research was destroyed by the government - my own ability to continue my studies has been destroyed.
I have since been seeking a publisher. It's important that it isn't self published, as being a carer means I don't have time for that, and need extra support.
As more and more horror stories emerge daily of the effects of austerity on vulnerable groups of people, it's more important than ever that this story is told.
In the years since finishing it, I became an Aunty as well, and for my children, nephews and nieces, and hopefully, future grandchildren, they will one day ask "Aunty Helen / Grandma, what was it like living through Austerity?" And like Anne Frank with her diary, Cloudbusting tells the story through wordless graphic illustration.
I am raising funding to cover the publishing costs involved, for the time needed to approach publishers, to cover the losses of rejections, for any travel to London or other areas to meet with publishers, to attend Laydeez Do Comics events, professional membership costs, printing costs, submission costs, administration costs, and time costs.