Toby Brown
Senior Artist In Residence

I am a portrait artist from the UK. Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2009 after being sectioned under the mental act. After a long recovery I had to leave my old life behind and start again. I used to be a company director in a family business. I worked there for 20 years. But it wasn’t for me and in 2008 I had a mental break down due to stress. I’ve been homeless and a drug addict, and finally ended up in an old caravan on an industrial estate.

When I was younger I would paint and draw all the time but stopped due to work commitments. In 2010 I decided to pick up the paint brushes again and decided to paint again. All of my portraits deal with mental health in all its forms, and started with 3 self portraits to show my family what was going on in my head. I finally left the caravan days behind and moved in with my Mum in 2012.

I work from home and my studio is in a spare bedroom, so I don’t have to go very far to paint. I’m currently working on a mental health portrait campaign called behind the smile, painting portraits of people suffering with mental health problems.