_The global recession hit the UK hard in
2008. Still in 2011 the effects on small business and independent trades people
are distinctive and destructive.
Hirst, a successful ships carpenter, was forced to
close his joinery business at the beginning of the year after twenty-five years
in the industry. Building contractors went underground to wait out the storm. Work dried up. He soon
slipped into depression: his marriage broke apart and he lost his
home. David now lives off-grid in SouthGloucestershire, on the edge of a field in a
mobile home, which was donated to him by a local farmer.
The recent arrival of his teenage son, Joseph, is the only light David has as he begins to rebuild his family. Joseph had just moved in when I came to visit, and with economic experts forecasting another five years of economic depression, I spent a night and a day with them at their new home.
_Mr. Mead is a kind and gentle artist. He is opinionated and impractical, trusting and occasionally dour. He is a skilled and
dedicated draftsman. He aspires to affluence and distinction but prays for the
quiet life with a cottage and long walks with a dog. Tortured by his childhood
fear of anthropomorphic animals and his fascination with bio-mechanics, he
spends his time musing with his nightmares, dreaming of surreal creatures that fuel his desires for the macabre. Mr. Mead is rapidly establishing himself as a successful British artist. His dark arts have a global following, with an avid fan base both in the USA and Germany. I find him with a smile on his face, where he is happiest at work in his