The story so far...

Kindness is something I have a passion for, as I have had to acquire a taste for it!

I was a quiet and shy kid, racked with self-consciousness. I found things much easier than people. So I struggled at school, university and in life afterwards.

At age 30 I started attending Twelve Step Recovery Programs, and that’s where my healing and growth really took off. They are kind and gentle programs, spiritual but not religious. This means seeing the good in oneself and others, and gently and slowly healing past hurts and learning to cope better with life and relationships.

Gradually, I coped better with life, but hit crises and normal life struggles. At such times, I often blamed myself and disconnected from others.

The Twelve-Step programs, Buddhist books and going to Quakers all led to me trying to be more gentle with myself, and putting kindness at the centre of this.

So I do this art not because I am an expert at kindness, but have had to learn about kindness and put this into practice- and still do, often failing, but keeping on trying!

The project developed as I learnt to use art to express myself, and grew over the years, with the help of a fundraiser in 2019. Then Covid hit us all, and I thought it was the perfect time to spread kindness. The response from people was amazing, and I got featured on media quite a bit.

Things have gone quieter since the summer, but I’ve realised that kindness is needed more than ever and that it will be throughout the Covid crisis, and well beyond.

The Art of Kindness explained in song! https://tinyurl.com/bs3song

Julian Wood

I am 43 years old, studied German and Russian at the University of Edinburgh, and spent several years after that teaching English in the Czech Republic. I then worked at the library at the University of Bristol and now work in Early Years and Primary Schools as a Teaching Assistant, alongside developing The Art of Kindness.