Artists in recovery showcase their work on Metro

Aritsts in recovery at West Jesmond Metro station
14 February 2019

Local artists who have battled addiction have been given the chance to showcase their work on the Tyne and Wear Metro.

The artists – Si Turner, John O’Rourke, Russ Coleman and Kirk Teasdale – are all alcoholics in recovery.

The medium of art has played a big role in their recovery process.

And it has culminated in an exhibition of their work at West Jesmond Metro station in Newcastle, where it will be seen by thousands of Metro passengers every day.

Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, has teamed up with Artists in Recovery (AiR) to bring the eye-catching exhibition to life.

Customer services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: “It’s a privilege for Metro to showcase the work of artists who have struggled with addiction, and to bring the good that Artists in Recovery does to a wider audience.

“This is something they have taken huge pride in and they can be rightly proud of their efforts, which raises awareness of addiction and recovery in our region.

“Each has harnessed a different medium as part of their recovery. It’s inspirational and will give hope to other people who are battling addiction that they too can turn their life around.

“The art space at West Jesmond Metro station is home to changing art programmes and we’re looking forward to seeing the work of other addicts in recovery over the coming year.

“I would like to thank all of the artists for the efforts they have put it and for the work of Artists in Recovery for bringing this project to fruition. It’s a bright, vibrant, thought-provoking display that will be seen by thousands of our passengers.”

Mark Anderson, Director of Artists in Recovery, said: "We are delighted that Nexus chose to sponsor one of AiR's exhibitions and have given our artists such a high profile public showcase for their work. It helps us carry the message that recovery from addiction is not only possible but that hugely positive lives can be lead beyond active addiction to a much wider audience than we could alone. We hope this initiative will give hope to people who may themselves have addictions and encourage them to seek help."

Recovering alcoholic, Kirk Teasdale, 54, of Whitley Bay, is one the artists to display his work, a piece titled ‘the best football ever made’.

He said: “I put this project entirely down to my recovery. It's given me the courage to do things I wouldn't have otherwise tried and a belief that anything is possible if I'm prepared to put the effort in and ask for help.

“As a group we hope that the work shown on the Metro platform by AiR will start to inform folk that we can recover and lead useful and fulfilling lives. We are living proof that there is a solution to a problem that kills."

The art work on display at West Jesmond Metro station for the next four months takes the form of station posters, showcasing drawings and sculptures.

Nexus sponsored an exhibition by members of Artists in Recovery during 2018 at St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle, as part of the Great Exhibition of the North, which was held in Newcastle and Gateshead last summer.

The partnership is part of an awareness raising campaign on addiction, which AiR say is a growing problem in North East England.

And as part of that campaign the artists in recovery were given the chance to display their work on Metro in 2019.

There are more than 40 permanent and temporary art works on display around the Metro system and other public transport infrastructure in Tyne and Wear as part of the Nexus Art on Transport Programme.

Click here to see all the videos from the artists in recovery.


Nexus Customer Services Director Huw Lewis

Director of Artists in Recovery Mark Anderson

Artist and designer Kirk Teasdale

Artist Russ Coleman

© 2022 Nexus Tyne and Wear - Public Transport and Local Information.