“It’s not about disability, it’s not about mental health, it’s about being with our friends just doing stuff we love."

Trev

What happens when two men, who both grew up in the 1980’s, with a shared love of nostalgia, 1970’s and 1980’s toys and film making get together? The answer is Two Art Toy Guys!

Steve and Trev have known each other for over twenty years and have shared many creative adventures, both at home and aboard. Trev first began supporting Steve to go to a day centre, but it didn’t take long for them to both realise they could have a much more ordinary, fun filled, life out and about and they soon escaped, claiming their place in the world!

With a shared love of 70s and 80s toys, Steve and Trev began to experiment with creative ideas that expressed their own dynamic and fantastical imaginations and attracted attention from others, keen to share in the experience of making together.

Opening up their studio for other artists

People that know and respect the two guys say that the best thing about Steve and Trev is the friendship they extend to others. They have opened up their sculpture studio for people to use in a relaxed and uncomplicated way. Their studio is at The Custard Factory in the heart of the creative quarter of Birmingham and it’s here that they initially created the most amazing, surreal sculptures influenced by their vintage fascination.

Most recently Steve and Trev have begun to focus more on film making. The films are a wonderful way of including people and creating a network around the two artists. People say that Steve and Trev make a space for everyone. As Trev says, “whoever you are, whatever your interest or skill, there is a role for you here.  That can be acting, writing, costume making, set building, marketing, tea making and an endless list of jobs.”  Steve and Trev work with people’s strengths, getting to know people and what they have an interest in and finding them a role.  

Gary explains, “I hadn’t played music for such a long time due to the effect my bipolar was having on me. When I came along here, they gently encouraged me. It took a while, but I got swept up on the wave of friendship and enthusiasm that the two of them radiate.”

Labels are for boxes, not people!

Many of the people who are part of Steve and Trev’s film making family live with a mental health difficulty, and as Mauvette says, “People can label you, and once that happens they look at you differently. They tend to label you as not able to do things. Labels are for boxes, not people. Learning scripts, building a character and sharing ideas about the film really helps me to focus on positive things in my life. Their flexibility is fantastic if things don’t work out, it doesn’t matter, we just try it another way.”

It’s not a special place, it is just our space.

The ordinariness of the friendship between Steve and Trev, and between them and their large creative friendship circle, is wonderful. A shared creative passion, a meeting of minds, coupled with a wicked sense of humour mean that, as Tony says, “being with Steve and Trev lifts you up! It is such a happy, welcoming and positive place to come”. Tony has been involved in many of the film projects and has travelled across Europe with the film team looking for new locations. He describes them as completely ordinary. “Steve is an equal part of our film making family. It’s not a special place, it is just our space.”

Lin says the studio “strips away the patronising attitude you can get from those who haven’t experienced disability of any kind. So many of us have had negative experiences from the many professionals involved in our lives. However, here we are able to express ourselves and tell our stories the way we want them to be heard, not through a series of conditions or symptoms. Steve and Trev have created a space for us all to do that.”

Click on the links below to see some of the amazing sculptures and films from the Two Art Toy Guys.

www.2arttoyguys.co.uk

and

www.youtube.com/user/2arttoyguys