Discussing Poetry and Art with Amanda Beck-McKim

Today’s feature is a brief interview with the lovely Manchester based artist Amanda Beck-McKim and a new project merging art with poetry.

I came across Amanda’s work recently after tagged in on a appeal for help with her charity project asking for people to put poetry over some of her art work all of which were created during the lockdown period to try and raise money for a local mental health charity.

Andy N:

Can you tell us the back ground to your project?

Amanda Beck-McKim :

I am usually an Artist who works with schools and communities inspiring people to create a textile artist and puppet maker and have for 25 years worked in schools, museums, hospitals and community settings.

After all my sessions were cancelled I found I had more time to concentrate on my drawing on my iPad. I started drawing queues because I found the perspective interesting originally and became interested in all the different characters in the queue all going through the same thing together. I started sharing the images in local social media group and people really connected with them they were delighted if they spotted themselves, a friends or a place they recognised the project grew from there really with everyone’s encouragement.

It then became important to do things in real time as they were happening like first day rules came in for wearing masks. Every day people going about their lives in extraordinary times.

I found I was enjoying drawing the different seasons to the shadows in the sun, the wet pavements and the frost on the ground. The different events and celebrations done differently. Being a community artist I wanted to involve people to get their perspectives of what lockdown was like for them? I asked for snap shots to draw from. I realised that I was creating an archive of these strange time like reportage illustration and decided I needed to put them together to make an exhibition or a book as all the galleries were closed I decided on a book.

Andy N:

​Amanda sent Today at 08:14

What inspired you to ask for writing for this project?

Amanda Beck-McKim:

I had been reading some lovely poems from creative friends who had been compelled to write in response to the pandemic and thought it would mean so much more to put words and images together! I posted asking if any of my writer friends would be interested and I got an amazing response! I think there is a need for people to respond creatively to what is happening it has been an incredible journey so far and I have even found a new pleasure in writing myself.

Andy N:

What do you hope to get from this project?

Amanda Beck-McKim:

I have got so much already I have learnt new skills and really connected with my community, I love it when things grow organically into something bigger! I suppose I hope to bring it altogether and create an archive of the times. A creative response to what has happened that people can resonate with! I am crowdfunding to get the book published so that I can do it in real time so it’s still in everyone’s minds! I then plan to sell the book to raise money for Arts for Health Charity ARC Who work with people on arts and writing projects that have suffered mental health issues. They have also been delivering arts projects to people in Greater Manchester through the pandemic.

Andy N:

Will you be planning a launch post lockdown?

Amanda Beck-McKim:

I will be teaming up with ARC to exhibit my work as part of an Exhibition at Stockport Art Gallery. I will definitely be looking to do a solo exhibition too I will also be creating an in-situ piece of art as part of their We Heart the Arts campaign At the Trafford Centre in May. This will be a Mura with a digital time lapse on the big screen.

Andy N:

How can people find out more about this project?

Amanda Beck-McKim:

Sure. You can email me on : [email protected]

The Video for my Kickstarter campaign is here

It contains some samples of my work on there.

My instagram page is here

The link for my kickstarter page is here

Andy N is the author of four full length poetry collections - the most recent being the Streets were all we could see. He is also the host / creator of 'Spoken Label' - a author / writer chat series as well as Podcast series such as Reading in Bed, Comics Unity, Wrestle-Up and the Koll, Andy N and Amanda show. He also ambient music under the name of Ocean in a Bottle. His official blog is onewriterandhispc.blogspot.com Occasionally he does sleep.