Finn’s art inspires project that boosts mental health charity
02 June, 2017 — By Joe Cooper
Libby Purves at the launch
THE artwork of Finn Clark speaks to his passions in life – music, nature and the beauty of design – but also to the strains he laboured under.
An award-winning illustrator, his beautiful sketches of birds and homages to his favourite musicians are now his legacy.
Finn, who lived with friends in Finsbury Park, took his own life aged 25, two years after being diagnosed with depression and psychosis. His body was found in a wooded area of Gillespie Park in December 2015.
Now, his work is being used in a new project aimed at increasing awareness of the benefits of art therapy.
The InFinnity Project will see people across the country with mental health issues – diagnosed or not – responding to his work with art of their own. They will raise money for charity Rethink Mental Illness in the process.
Around £5,000 has already been raised through memorials and sales of Finn’s work.
The project was launched last month at the Hospital Club, in Covent Garden. Broadcaster and author Libby Purves, a long-time friend of the Clark family, spoke from experience – her son, Nicholas Heiney, a writer and poet, committed suicide as a young man.
“Finn’s work tells us a lot about a fine spirit,” she said. “The observation and imagination, the ability to do what all good artists and illustrators do – to take a line for a walk and complete its journey and let us follow it and find a kind of peace and completeness.
“This is a gift artists can give us. If it happens that we lose an artist early – they in some way burn out – it is a record of their spirit which they leave us.”
Finn’s mother, Sarah, added: “It’s important that people don’t feel shy about talking about mental health issues and that particularly boys are encouraged to talk about it and share their feelings.
“It’s good that it’s being discussed in such a matter-of-fact way because it does affect everyone. Even if you don’t feel it is affecting you, maybe it will affect you or someone close to you in the future.”