Accident led to a life of art

When an accident ended a career as a chef BA Fine Art student and Hendon resident Simone Hill followed a path that led to the gallery

Simone shows some of her oil portraits at the North London Degree Show.
Simone shows some of her oil portraits at the North London Degree Show.

When Simone Hill’s career as a chef ended after an accident to her right arm and leg, little did she know that five years later she would be exhibiting her fine art creations to hundreds of visitors to Middlesex University’s North London Degree Show.

Hill, who lives in Hendon, has just completed her BA in Fine Art at the University and was one of dozens of students from the Arts and Creative Industries Faculty who showed their final-year projects during the week-long show.

It opened last week (6th June) with a special event that gave students an opportunity to present their projects in person to University staff, friends, family, and members of the public that included industry professionals looking to snap up the creative talent of the future. 

Visitors were treated to a vast array of creative projects, from paintings, films and short animations to graphic design portfolios, 3D games, photography and interior design features, as well as a runway show that wowed the audience with an eclectic mix of designs from Fashion BA students. 

“It was fantastic to be able to display my work to so many people alongside fellow students from all the arts and creative courses,” said Hill. “There was such a vast array of creativity on show and it was brilliant to bring everyone’s hard work on their final-year projects together.”

During the show, Hill displayed some of her portraits in oil paint which used some techniques from the Old Masters such as underpainting (applying a layer of paint to the canvas prior to painting it) with green tones. The portraits are inspired by the Goth alternative culture that is typically seen around Camden Town.

Hill took up painting as a form of physiotherapy for her arm after the accident when she had a fall. She completed the Arts and Creative Industries Foundation course at Middlesex University before going onto the BA in Fine Art, which she enjoyed so much that she now plans to enrol on the MA course. “I completed the Foundation Year in 2020 during the pandemic when I was struggling with my physical health. I had worked as a chef for many years but suffered nerve damage in my arm after the accident. I now suffer from fibromyalgia, a condition which causes chronic pain around the body and this meant that I could no longer work as a chef,” said Hill. 

“I had taken up painting after my accident as a form of physiotherapy for my arm and discovered that I enjoyed it and was rather good, so I applied for the Foundation Year at Middlesex University.

“I was most interested in fine art but it was a great introduction to a range of artistic methods including illustration, animation, sculpture, and fashion, so it had a little for everyone. I found it interesting to try out different mediums and it definitely helped my creativity.”

Hill learned about the research process as an artist before embarking on her BA. During her final year, she specialised in oil painting while her final dissertation was on pain mapping which involves using different coloured acrylic inks to create a colour key in a personal ‘pain map’.

“This can be shown to medical professionals to help them understand the intensity and site of chronic pain experienced around the body. My dissertation involved mapping the pain experienced by four other people, as well as my own, and I hope this can be developed into a method of communication between doctors and patients, and something that can be used to treat pain and help people,” she said.

“As well as developing this, after my MA I might teach art or go into the gallery sector. I would also like to sell my own work as I have so many paintings at home that I am running out of space.”

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