Talented Guernsey artist, Ryan Dawe, generously commissioned a beautiful painting of ‘Frankie’ that was created as a surprise for Ken and Linda Acott. The piece is now proudly hanging in Frankie’s Den, and was based on a photo of the late Frankie who belonged to the Acotts. She inspired the naming of the property after the couple donated the two-bedroom flat to the Priaulx Premature Baby Foundation. They also provided funds for its renovation, allowing the charity to support even more Guernsey families with a poorly baby or critically ill child receiving off-island treatment. Frankie’s Den is the third addition to the PPBF’s compassionate housing next to Southampton Hospital.
We had a chat with Ryan, to find out why the PPBF’s work is close to his heart.
What connection do you have with the PPBF’s work?
I stayed in Southampton when I was 8 years old, when I had a heart operation to perform an SVT Ablation. I went into heart failure at 8 weeks, which meant a long stay in the ICU. During attacks, my condition with SVT made my heart rate reach 316 beats per minute. I lived with the condition until I was old enough to have the operation in Southampton. The charity accommodation we stayed in was the Wessex Children’s Heart Circle, so although not actually the PPBF, I still feel a strong connection with anything to do with this.
How would you describe the experience you had in Southampton, especially with being away from home at a young age?
I was OK being away from home as my family was with me, until the day before the operation when I became upset and scared. The biggest challenge for my family was leaving me when going into theatre, then the wait during the operation.
At the time you were unwell, the PPBF hadn’t been formed yet. Why do you think a charity like this is needed?
To support and be able to speak to like-minded families going through similar things. Also, for the children going through the same thing, it’s important to know you’re not alone.
The PPBF aims to create safe, comfortable, and peaceful environments for families to stay in during difficult times. How do you think art can influence a space?
Art creates a calming environment, which in turn will help to take your mind off things.
“It was a no brainer for me to say yes to this as these types of apartments and houses hold a special place in my heart (literally). This type of accommodation is extremely important to families going through tough times, and what the charity does is amazing!” – Ryan Dawe.
What sort of process is involved in creating a piece like Frankie’s portrait?
The first step was to receive a few photos of Frankie showing different expressions, lighting, colours etc, then I decided layout and positioning. After that, it’s straight to canvas, sketching, painting, and finishing with a nice varnish.
We know that you run Coffee & Create in Guernsey. Is this somewhere that families could bring their children?
Absolutely! The space is designed for anyone, adults and kids, to come in and have some fun with paints. We run 1-on-1 and drop in sessions for any ages, evening group workshops, and also birthday parties. If you don’t want to paint, you can still come in and grab a coffee. Find out more here.
Find out more about Ryan Dawe’s art by following him on Facebook or Instagram. You can also find out more about the PPBF’s Buy-A-Night campaign here. We absolutely love Ryan’s work and would like to thank him for lovingly creating ‘Frankie’ for our third flat.