A moment that changed me: a teacher destroyed my artistic dreams. A breakdown revived them
I was a promising painter in my teens, but turned my back on a career as an artist. Now, after depression and anxiety, I am fulfilling my early ambitions
It was the end of the day at school. Teachers sat around the hall, behind tables, waiting to help us choose our A-levels. At the table marked “Art” sat a teacher with a beard and a checked shirt. He’d never taught me. I sat down and told him I wanted to be an artist.
He was downbeat and said something about it being “hard to be an artist”. I’m not sure if those were the exact words he used, but I remember the feeling – it was as if he had said: “You, Flintoff, cannot be an artist.”