Norman Anderson

Norman Anderson has been many things, but most important to him at this stage of his life is being an artist and a Quaker. Having discovered both during a spell in prison, on his release he moved to Bamford Quaker Community in the Peak District and completed an MA in fine art in Sheffield.

As part of his approach to faith, Norman identifies with the notion of a ‘thin place’. This is an idea from mystical Celtic tradition relating to places where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and we’re able to glimpse the divine, or transcendent. Norman has experienced a few in his life, and recent cataclysmic events have unexpectedly brought him back to another.

In summer 2018 Norman suffered a serious stroke. Having lost many powers of language and speech, he has had to renegotiate his relationship with the world, with the support of a speech therapist. Months passed and eventually Norman was able to return to the studio and think about making some work. At this point, an extraordinary thing happened. As he began to paint, Norman found himself uttering incantations in a language he didn’t understand, in his words a ‘new and ancient language bubbling up from inside’. The film, also titled NOT ONLY CAN I NOT DRAW A DOG, I DON’T KNOW WHAT A DOG IS, explores the 3-way relationship between Norman, his artwork, and this new part of his psyche.


Talking Sense, Portico Library, Manchester (2020); ‘CAN I DRAW A DOG, I DON’T KNOW WHAT A DOG IS’, Mansions of the Future, Lincoln (2019); Dog Part 2, Foodhall, Sheffield (2019); FABS Show, Yorkshire Artspace, Sheffield (2018); A Thin Place, Bloc Projects, Sheffield (2017); Making Marks, The White Gallery, Sheffield (2015)

Publications: Life Beyond Crime, Edited by Paul Crane pg. 151- 152

Press: Doncopolatian pg. 17

Artist's website