Crop of In Awe by David Jones, part of the Outside In programme at Pallant House Gallery

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester

Jennifer Gilbert, 15.04.2013
David Jones was homeless for 14 years, during which time he developed a heroin addiction and finally ended up in prison for a year.

While in prison David had trouble sleeping and took up art to give him a focus. He attended art classes three times a week and was allowed art materials in his cell.

When released he approached Creative Future in Brighton, a charity supporting marginalised artists in their creative development, and appeared in several of its exhibitions.

From this period a piece of his work titled In Awe (pictured) was entered in the 2009 Outside In competition, which is run by Pallant House Gallery in Chichester and provides a platform for artists to access the art world who find it difficult because of health, disability or social circumstance.

Much to David’s surprise his work was not only exhibited, but was chosen as one of the six Outside In award-winning works. The award enabled him to have a two-year residency at Pallant House, and a solo exhibition in 2011 during which he sold seven paintings.

David had mixed emotions about the opportunity, with a high being his work hung in the same gallery as Frida Kahlo and Francis Bacon.

Since this time David has organised small exhibitions in Brighton and regularly features in the Big Issue.

David says: “My art has allowed me to become a stronger person, more confident, and to go to college to do an art foundation course.”

Jennifer Gilbert is the Outside In coordinator at Pallant House Gallery