Rocky Bay support worker Gail shares her memories of working with Mike on his 2016 street art calendar
One summer’s day, whilst swimming at South Beach, a chance moment set off a new adventure for Rocky Bay support worker, Gail and her client, Mike, who lives with autism.
Gail has supported Mike for the past few years through Rocky Bay’s Leisure Lifestyle & Learning, which serves to help people living with disability spend time in the community – working on life skills, projects and generally having fun.
“One of my most memorable periods of 2015 was working with Mike on a street art calendar – a Christmas gift for his parents.
It all started when I spotted a mural on a changing room wall at South Beach. In that moment, I thought it would make a lovely backdrop for a photo. I asked Mike to stand in front of the mural and we had great fun making different poses. From here the calendar idea was born!
I suggested to Mike that we could start a street art project, with him as the model and me as the photographer. I asked Mike if he thought this was a project he would enjoy. Given Mike’s fondness for the word “boring”, when he instead responded with a ‘mmmm…’ I decided this was the yes I needed to begin!
An initial Google search netted a surprisingly large cache of excellent street art around Perth. We snatched opportunities in-between our drama class, swimming and various other activities. Sometimes we’d take props along for the shoot – this was an area where Mike was very assured in his choices, sometimes choosing none at all.
I look back fondly at the adventures, laughter and spontaneity of each shoot. Mike blew me away with his ability to engage and stay enthusiastic. He always had something unique to contribute – often taking me by surprise. I would often compliment Mike on his modelling skills and he would always say, “Thank you very much”. I could tell that he felt proud of himself.
The project afforded me insight into a side of Mike I hadn’t known, even after years of working together. Although Mike shies away from attention, this project gave his parents and others a chance to express their admiration of his creativity and Mike derived real pleasure from that.
I would like to thank Mike for taking me on a most enjoyable journey. I just hope he found it as fun as I did.” said Gail.
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