Alex Young: One Man's Journey To Success Through Art & Well-being
At Hammond Associates, we pride ourselves on sourcing and negotiating the best ‘temporary space’ property solutions in the UK. We help commercial landlords with vacant properties to reduce holding costs on property that would otherwise remain empty for extended periods of time by leasing them to charitable organisations and individuals in need of meanwhile spaces. Our services are mutually beneficial for the landlords and charitable tenants involved while also providing a way to give back to the surrounding communities by reinvigorating and rejuvenating the high-street that is all too often filled with boarded windows that could be put to so much better use.
Just one example of how our work can help to make others’ passions come to life and thrive is through the story of Alex Young, a gifted photographer working with our charitable partner, Outer Spaces who collaborate with artists, art collectives, organisations and commercial property owners to activate and reanimate the nation’s empty commercial spaces. Our work resulted in sourcing and negotiating a meanwhile space for Alex at the Avenue Shopping Centre in Newton Mearns, Glasgow which he has transformed into his very own art gallery now open to the public.
Alex started out not as a photographer but in fact with a forces background, joining the Royal Navy in 1986 as an Electrical Engineer then leaving to pursue a career first in shipbuilding followed by a career in IT. It wasn’t until 2012 when Alex discovered he had a passion for photography after embarking on a safari in South Africa where he fell in love with the beauty of landscapes and wildlife that sparked something in himself that he wanted to pursue.
“In 2014, a conversation with friends about Jackson Pollock led to Alex photographing and creating his first piece of very own ‘talking point art’. In an excerpt, he says: “My friend, who is herself an amateur artist, believed that I had managed to achieve something unique and beautiful at the same time from something so innocuous that was under our noses in the kitchen of the timeshare we were staying in.”
Fast forwarding to 2021, Alex’s love for photography had not diminished but in his own words his enthusiasm had waned in the face of smart phones with everyone becoming an overnight photographic expert, and the perils of the world on top of a full time job had begun to take their toll on Alex’s mental well-being.
“I suddenly I found myself burned out by work and the pandemic, constantly working from home on high pressure projects until eventually one morning after months of anxiety I cracked and found myself in tears on a phone call discussing my mental health with my GP.”
During the subsequent two months Alex took time off work, and whilst on another trip with friends he found himself recounting the tale of Jackson Pollock and the conversation 6 years earlier that sparked the creation of his first piece.
“To prove a point” he said, “I took another photograph, but little did I know that “Coming Up For Air” (pictured) had been born and my passion for photography (not wildlife or landscape, but making everyday objects appear unique and beautiful) was rekindled.”
In November of that same year, realising that he was in desperate need of a work life balance change, Alex made the decision to resign from his full-time job (by which time he had 20 new pieces of “digital art” creations under his belt) and after having seen an Outer Spaces sign in a window at the Avenue Shopping Centre in Newton Mearns he got in touch and set foot on a new and exciting venture where he could focus on his true passion – art.
Now, at the beginning of March 2022, Alex has successfully built a platform for his artwork, recently publicly debuting his art gallery in the Avenue Shopping Centre. The acquisition and subsequent use of this space has given Alex the life-changing opportunity to put his artwork in the spotlight for all passers by to admire. In the pursuit of better well-being, Alex has also been running 5km a week with mental health running group Run Talk Run as well as working on leveraging his art to as large an audience as possible through the use of social media, a medium he is hoping will generate the exposure, popularity, and appreciation his artwork deserves.
We will leave you now with a quote from Alex himself as he perfectly sums up how his well-being has improved through following his passion:
“I’m extremely proud of what I have achieved, and my mental health has never been better. It was truly the best decision I’ve made. I know my art isn’t for everyone, but I do want to share it with the people who do like it and of course…I never tell what it was I photographed…where would be the Talking Point in that!”
We’re so proud of what Alex has achieved and glad we could help by sourcing what would become Alex’s very own public art gallery in the heart of Newton Mearns that we encourage everyone passing through to come and see. We know you won’t be disappointed! We are also proud to have been able to work on this with the incredible Outer Spaces, who found such a deserving person to use this space and thrive. For anyone on social media, why not check out Alex’s recently established Twitter and Instagram profiles where he aims to further grow his audience through the exposure of his unique and mesmerising artwork? Best of luck, Alex. We’re all rooting for you!