Image above: Working sketches for #85,The Lights Are Going Out In My Leg, by Ciara Chapman, 2017

Ciara Chapman – My Chronic Pain Dairy

Graphic artist and printmaker, Ciara Chapman lives and works in Cork city, Ireland. Since January 2016 she has been producing a blog called My Chronic Pain Diary – documenting her own experiences living with chronic pain. Artistically, she has a lightness of touch and real ability to find metaphors from her life to explain how such pain feels – and the uncertainty, insecurity,  judgement and loss of independence it brings.

Over a 5 week period, Ciara’s Digital Gene Pool exhibition will simulate her blog, with new images added in when they are complete.

A Facebook event will also accompany this online exhibition in which Ciara will share her work and process on the Art Gene Facebook page, telling us what she is working on, showing initial sketches and answering questions on any aspect of her work.

“My process is: I always get the title of the work first, it pops into my head when something comes to mind or if there’s something really bothering me, then I do some thumbnails of how I think it should look. When I’m happy with the thumbnail I draw a large version that usually looks pretty rough. I re draw it with pencil and black pen so it’s as clean as possible before it goes to the computer. I always start on the black outline to begin with, then pick the colours and texture I want to use”. 

Ciara Chapman, 2017


Entry 84.  I’ve recently started snoring….Poor Dave
Wednesday 11th October, 2017

Image above: I’ve recently started snoring….Poor Dave, by Ciara Chapman, 2017

Ciara writes:

“This one is pretty self explanatory. Every once in a while I get a new symptom. I’ve been having problems with allergies over the past couple of months and I recently started snoring as a result. It turns out I’m pretty good at it! I was like a fog horn (or dinosaur) the other day and poor Dave woke up at 4.30 and couldn’t get me to stop so I kept going for the rest of the night which meant Dave couldn’t get back to sleep and had to go to work at 9. It’s important for my diary to show a glimpse of how things affect Dave too as my husband without stepping in and trying to tell his story for him”.

Ciara Chapman, 2017


Entry 85.The Lights Are Going Out In My Leg,
Monday 16th October, 2017


” I had a trip to A&E recently which was as a result of a surge in pain in my left leg. I found out when I was there that my leg is getting worse. It wasn’t much of a surprise to me, I could feel the pain worsening as well as my leg feeling even weaker and heavier than usual. In my head I likened it to lights slowly switching off from the ankle up. The 4 separate sections of this piece represent Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. The lights are in the pins moving up the right side of my left leg (from the viewers point of view), they’re switching from light to dark across the page or over time in a more literal sense”.

Ciara Chapman, 2017


Linking our Landscapes and Communities

Ciara’s exhibition, with our conversations on Facebook, will become a reference for mental health and wellbeing and the upcoming Art Gene project, Linking our Landscapes and Communities for The Coastal Communities Team.

Over the coming months, Art Gene will be examining improvements in health and well-being by engaging people in events based in the under utilised – but award winning – landscapes around Barrow-in-Furness. As with all Art Gene projects, this involves consultation with a huge variety of experts and specialists, locals, community groups and other stakeholders –  look out for press about these events in the new year.

Image below: Ciara’s computer screen