From cocaine to canvas

PUBLISHED: 10:00 05 October 2010

Artist  Jamie Scanion who  has  a name for  Himself as a artist after overcoming drug and alcohol addictions.

Artist Jamie Scanion who has a name for Himself as a artist after overcoming drug and alcohol addictions.

Archant

A YEAR ago he was locked in a downward spiral of drug and alcohol abuse and fearing for his life - but now he stands on the brink of a bright new artistic future.

At its peak, Jamie Scanlon’s addiction was costing him as much as £1,000 a week, as well as robbing him of friends, relationships and even his home.

But after the talented artist finally found the strength to kick his habit and focus on his painting, he has landed a guest slot at a top London art exhibition.

The 32-year-old, of Earlham Grove, has this week told the Mercury of the low points of his 12-year battle with substance abuse – and his excitement at what now lies ahead.

Lifelong Weston resident Jamie first turned to drugs after two of his friends died, but quickly found himself trapped by a powerful addiction.

He said: “Since the age of 20 there are very few drugs that I haven’t tried but cocaine was a big addiction, which spiraled into crack cocaine addiction.

“At this point I was spending about £1,000 a week on drink and drugs.

“I lost a lot of friends and it destroyed my relationship at the time.

“My main incentive for stopping was not only did I despise the person I had become and realise that it would easy to join my fallen friends, but it was also harder to do them and myself proud.

“So I’ve decided to become a decent, successful member of society.”

Having made the decision to clean himself up, Jamie has thrown himself into art – something he has loved since childhood, but a talent which was shelved during his years of addiction.

He continued: “As I got further into drink and drugs, the further I came from art.

“I’m thankful that I still am capable of it and find it helps stay focused.

“Ironically the years of chaos have helped in my new work so I guess every cloud has a silver lining.”

And that silver lining looks like turning golden, as Jamie has landed a huge opportunity with a guest slot at the new London show of renowned artist Mason Storm.

Storm, who is known for supporting upcoming artists, has vowed to use his October 28 exhibition to unmask the elusive Banksy – guaranteeing major public exposure for Jamie’s work.

He is thrilled – and is determined to make the most of the opportunity.

Now sober for three months, and buoyed by support from Weston’s ARA (Addiction Recovery Agency) he is approaching the future with a new-found optimism.

He added: “ARA has helped me immensely and i would advise anyone with addiction who have a strong desire to beat it, to use ARA to set them free.

“My ultimate ambition is to be a successful artist, maybe have my own little gallery, and also help others escape from the dark world of addiction.”

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