My name is Lizz Brady, I am the founder, director, finance manager, website builder, and tea maker…of Broken Grey Wires. In other words, it is just me who runs this project!! I do have many, many wonderful friends, and colleagues who support and encourage me along the way. Without them, I doubt Broken Grey Wires (BGW) would be as successful as it is right now.
Recently, I have had a couple of people ask me how BGW came about. I guess it is time to re-visit 2014 and chat a little about what happened and why I began this organisation.
In 2012 I graduated from university with a degree in Fine Art. The four years there were extremely hard, I was very poorly with my mental health, I was in and out of hospitals, psychiatrist’s offices, A&E, waiting rooms at doctors and very rarely in the lecture halls. Thankfully, I had two or three tutors who believed in me, gave me space, encouraged me to learn, and suggested art, films, and books to delve into.
I would self-harm regularly to cope with increasing depression and hallucinations, scaring my friends and constantly endangering my life.
I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and then bipolar.
I started medications (anti-depressants and anti-psychotics) and after uni, I decided to move to Manchester. I wanted to be challenged through art, be a small fish in the big pool of a city, rather than settling for less in Lincoln. I moved in 2013.
Then the year 2014 came. I was desperately unhappy. Running away from my troubles in Lincoln, failed relationships, ill mental health etc, had not worked and things were worse than ever. Without going into too much detail, I tried to take my life.
Fortunately, an ambulance came and took me to hospital, but unfortunately, there were no beds on the psych ward in the city. I ended up all the way in Sunderland hospital for a few weeks.
Whilst there, I started to think about my life, my artistic career, where I wanted to be, what I wanted to do. I could not carry on the way I was. Suicidal, miserable, self-harming, drinking way too much, damaging friendships…I used the art room a lot. It wasn’t great, but there were coloured pencils and countless paper to draw out ideas.
I wanted a name for this new project and the phrase ‘Broken Grey Wires’ came from part of a story I was writing.
“…his head split open to reveal nothing, only spiders, tiny black spiders and broken grey wires, maybe a little dust.”
I decided to contact some artists (when I got out of hospital) and call the exhibition ‘Broken Grey Wires.’
However, the harder I worked, the more I started to realise that this was just the beginning. BGW could be something more than a one off exhibition. It could be a catalyst for change, a professional, artistic exploration into ill mental health. A facilitator for recovery and a safe space for people to create and look at art.
To cut a longer story, a little shorter. I got out of hospital, I got intensive therapy, I stopped self-harming, I travelled the country meeting people and other organisations who were using mental health and art as a starting point. I got inspired, I worked harder than I ever have, I meditated, I read a lot, I discovered favourite films and new music. I met the greatest friends I have ever had in my life, all through BGW.
I now work with incredible, critically acclaimed artists, and just as amazing emerging artists. I also put together gig nights, working with inspiring musicians. I am lucky to still be alive and to be experiencing these wonderful opportunities.
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
- Jack Kerouac
My new tattoo.