Next to the Chainlink Fence, Jane Sproston
Next to the Chainlink Fence, Jane Sproston

[Image: a white, somewhat rough and rocky surface covered in vegetation. The vegetation appears to be broken grey pieces of twigs and small plants, mixed with leaves and other plant parts in blue, red, green, yellow, teal, orange, and indigo.]

Our cover artist, Jane Sproston, contributed this as her artist’s bio for Issue 9.

“I live in Atrincham just outside Manchester. I now work seasonally as an exam marker after leaving a secondary teaching career in 2009. Since 2010 I have rediscovered my art and found that it helps express my ideas in a much better manner than I can speak using words.

I can’t remember when I started drawing because I have always drawn pictures. I vividly remember learning how to draw circles and later on people when I was at nursery. As a child I always wondered why I was different to the other kids at school and why I was treated differently. Last year I drew a picture called ‘In front of the chain link fence’ which brings together some of my feelings about my childhood, living in Longsight in the late 1970s and 80s and suffering from the bullying of other children.

I spent a begrudging year at art college 1993/4, firstly at Salford College and later at South Trafford. I hated being there and could not wait for it to be over. People around me tried to encourage me to engage with my art, telling me that I was good at it. I wasn’t ready to engage with it at 18 years old. I think 20 years of life experience has helped me go back and appreciate what one can do through artworks.

I didn’t get an autism diagnosis until earlier this year after suspecting that I was autistic since 2010. My daughter is autistic which is why I started to reflect on some of difficulties that I have had in life and why I have always felt that I don’t see things in the same way that other people do. I always wondered why I was put in the bottom set class at secondary school when I knew I wasn’t limited academically. Fitting in at sixth form college was traumatic and working with other people in the various jobs over the years has also been very challenging.

Art has been my therapy and during times when I have thought too much about negative aspects that I have dealt with from other people I can retreat into a picture and ‘speak’ through it. I find that I now feel more positive which reflects in some of the work that I am now doing. Greece, temples and trees are things that I like.

I started exhibiting my artwork at the beginning of 2014 and hope to continue exhibiting my artwork.”


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