Local inspiration overcomes chronic illness through art

LAST year, Georgia Sugg could hardly get out of bed, her energy sapped by health problems which had plagued her since she was a child.

Reading a book, calling a friend for a chat, or any activity lasting more than 30 minutes left her exhausted. Eating was a huge effort and earning a living seemed impossible.

Georgia with some of her paintings

Georgia’s ambition of getting a highly paid City job in data analytics had been shattered. But she is now forming radically different career – and a counter to her pain and suffering – through art.

The 23-year-old has devised a unique method of creating aesthetic artwork, using special mixes of paint, and gravity to spread the colours, as she draws a lot of her inspiration from nature.

Her paintings have found buyers and she is running a series of workshops to introduce others to a relaxing pastime which could draw out their inner artist.

Georgia, who lives in Horsell, suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). She has the symptoms of five active viruses, including measles and Epstein-Barr, alongside Lyme disease, multiple sensitivities and a mould called Patulin.

The condition which was eventually diagnosed as CFS hit her hard when she was 16, at the start of her AS-level year at school. “It was literally overnight that everything changed, and it wasn’t until around three years later that we finally understood why it happened,” she said.

“I had always been an ill child, having regular bouts of tonsillitis, chest infections, digestive issues and several unexplained week-long stays in hospital. I wasn’t exactly surprised when I was hit with another virus, but I still haven’t fully recovered.

Her condition was finally properly diagnosed by a private clinic. She was prescribed a course of immunotherapy, antivirals and antibiotics, which resulted in a dramatic improvement in her symptoms.

Earlier last year, Georgia had found the art supplies which she used while doing her AS-levels at Guildford High School. She managed to spend 15 minutes once or twice a week painting, finding fulfilment in creating pictures of clouds.

The new treatments enabled her to spend up to three hours day on artwork, developing her experimental pouring techniques. “The more I made, the more I began to realise that, now I was no longer constrained by the fear of extreme crashes, I could look into places to start selling,” she said.

She has been approved to display her paintings to weekend events run by Contemporary Art Fairs and has been rewarded with several sales and commissions.

Georgia, who uses the garage at the house where she lives with parents Sally and Chris as her studio, is running classes at the Mayford Centre in Mayford. She is promoting these and her newly-found career at www.artbygeorgiasugg.co.uk.

“It has been the most overwhelmingly wonderful feeling to have both my health returning and a goal to work towards,” she said. “I am so grateful to begin to feel more like myself again.”

For the full story get the 9 May edition of the News & Mail

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