I met Lloyd McCullough in October 2013 at the Feel the Force event in Peterborough, an event organised by my friend and associate, JJ Lucia-Wright. JJ and his team do an excellent job of enabling access to the world of entertainment and popular culture for the visually impaired and disabled. Among the many things that stands out with Lloyd is his relaxed demeanor and his colorful paintings. A lot of his paintings are influenced by comic and action film characters, and his artwork shows a real appreciation of strength and muscular tones. There is a maturity about Lloyd’s depictions that are really captivating.
Lloyd was born deaf with Users syndrome, a condition that causes his sight to deteriorate over time. But in-spite of this immense challenge, Lloyd continued to show and develop an interest in drawing at an early age. His story is inspiring.
MaMoMi Initiative: What are your Inspirations?
Lloyd McCullough: Having been born deaf and losing my sight gradually over the years, I have a very different experience and perspective on life than what other people usually have. As a child growing up I had a fascination with comic books and comic character heroes. I particularly loved Spider-Man, Conan the Barbarian and the Incredible Hulk! I loved experimenting with drawings and did used a lot of my own heroes, God-like characters. DarkGuard was a favorite comic collection of mine. I also loved Japanese Art and Yoji Shinkawa is an absolute favorite of mine. His work is a real inspiration and I love his depictions of strong characters. I also love the work of American fantasy and science fiction artist Frank Frazetta.
I grew up loving a lot of the dark lord fantasy fiction kind of art and when i was young many of my paintings were dark and scary. Now as I’ve grown and matured and my my outlook on life has changed somewhat. Previously, I was perhaps shut off from society as the impact of losing my sight gradually began to erode my confidence. This was a particular dark time in my life and I concentrated on many dark characters. But now i have strength of character and a more positive outlook on life, both of this largely because I have developed a strong faith. Now my art is peaceful, serene and embraces a feeling of hope and salvation; a paradise future in and with a beautiful Garden. The thought of beautiful trees, a beautiful earth and happy people. That is my future and this is what now inspires my paintings. I am concentrating at the moment on a collection of Fantasy Angels and paradise-like gardens, and also some bible characters.
We can do anything we dream of.” – Lloyd McCullough
MI: What drives your determination to help and support others?
LM: I have been through a lot in my life because of my deafness and blindness. I have learnt to cope with my feelings of anxiety, hopelessness and fear. In the past, i felt let down by Doctors and health professionals and this left me feeling very disappointed and alone. I have learned to change this into a positive influence in my life. I am no longer scared or frightened of my future and want to use my experience to inspire others to change their outlook on life. We can do anything we dream of. I have so many dreams and fantasy stores in my mind that I want to put down on paper and share with others to make them happy. I want to be able to show people that thinking positively can have a positive influence in your life. This drives me as I know many people suffer every day and I want to be able to show and help them be positive.
MI: What do you hope to achieve with your art career?
LM: My hopes for the future is to produce my own collection of story books for children. I have written one story book already and currently working three others. I would love to be able to visit the work place and schools to give inspirational talks about my life. I have currently visited two schools, one in Norwich and one in Peterborough. These have both been an amazing experience as both Schools had hearing, deaf and deaf blind pupils. I have met some wonderful children and they have been so happy to meet me. They have been confident to use haptic sign language and have therefore no social barriers. Deaf adults are sometimes embarrassed or nervous to talk to me but these deaf children were so confident and it was like we were all the same. It was a truly wonderful experience. Also the hearing children and school teachers were amazed and inspired. This made me really happy too.
I would love to encourage people to be unafraid of their disabilities.” – Lloyd McCullough
Lloyd met Jay at his school in Norwich. Jay contracted Meningitis that left him both deaf and blind.
Lloyd’s earlier paintings were done using Oils and water colour but has found the computer age very kind to his practice. He now uses Corel painter programme, where he uses customizable brushes and pen to draw freehand on the screen to produce the paintings he wants, getting more or less any effect he wants to produce.
He would like to sell more paintings but making money has never been his goal or ambition. Attaining immense wealth and fame is not one of Lloyd’s driving force as he prefers to remain grounded and down-to-earth. He admits It would be nice to make enough money to be able to design and build his own house one day; a dream i personally believe he deserves to aspire to. His more immediate concern is to raise money to support children’s charities, something he continues to pursue.
MI: Your hope is to Inspire and reach people regardless of disabilities, social backgrounds or impairments. What else Inspires you?
LM: So as I have said I would love to have a collection of story books for children. I want to promote my artwork and maybe have my artworks shown at different venues, at art shows, galleries or Museums, or even a market stall in a different place every week. I would like to work in making and producing films, something I currently enjoy as a hobby. I would love to encourage people to be unafraid of their disabilities; to not be afraid to use hands-on sign language. Our community needs to treat everyone as equal. I am concentrating on living life to the full and make things happen for me. I want to inspire people to do the same.