Stories of Experience: Abi Chapman

My Survival Kit: Landscape designed typographic poster exploring my inner thoughts of the chosen objects above that represent my personal experiences that have led me to do, what I do today.

‘Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first, and the lesson after.’ – Oscar Wilde.

Wilde’s words are nothing but truth; without experience, we do not have the ability to learn. We would lose the life lessons that we need to progress in life to form individual thought, emotion, and even personality. Sometimes these experiences are meant to challenge us, to confront our inner vulnerabilities. My Nan would often defend this by coming out with lines such as ‘God never gives one anything they can’t handle.’ Which is fantastic, her support and belief is incredible. Unfortunately for myself, I was never religious enough to take this on board to create an impact on me when I struggled.

I have always seen the world as a chaotic schism of positive, negative and neutral experiences. All of which are powerful. They can show us the path to love, happiness and connection, to change our world and make things just. Regrettably, some of the most dominant experiences in this universe aren’t the ones that light the way, but the ones that cause division in our world. Between rich and poor, black and white, gay and straight, disabled and abled, that list goes on. This is wrong and this is what needs to change.

Essentially my collection here is a story. It is a story of my personal experiences in life that have moulded me into the individual I am today. I am a graphic designer, yet I am more than that, I want to change the world, if only a small part, through the simple tool of communication and story telling. So it seems fit, that at the start of this course; I tell my story.

My life, for a long time, fell under the negative experiences of the schism I earlier described. I lost people I loved through tragic circumstance, I saw how addiction could tear individuals and families apart, battled sexuality and the incidents of an abusive relationship. Those experiences go on, and deeper than are necessary to explain at this stage. Although, my hardest struggle, was the most personal. I was born with a complex medical condition that will never go away. A condition that nearly, and could of taken my life in 2017. A risk that could always come back. For now, I live with the complications, surgery after surgery, procedures, tests, medication and medical staff. I didn’t however just survive, I live, and I thrive.

I guess all of his probably sounds depressing to you. I want to implore that this is quite the opposite. My experiences are my empowerment. My strength. My courage and confidence. As well as the ink to my creativity. These is the toolkit that has led me to see the world differently to others, and I can use that to make a world a better place, for those living with invisible disabilities, to carry on my work around grief. To be loud, political, and bold. Most of all, keep telling stories. This masters is the beginning of a journey for me, a journey I am more than excited to take. A chance for us all to change the world together.

‘I can’t say that I can change the world, but if you let me, I can change a world for us.’ – Lyrics from Renaissance – Paolo Buonvino / Skin

Abi Chapman – Graphic Design & Communication – Interests: Research, Psychology, Sociology, History, Design, Human behaviour and interaction within design and communication..

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