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Arts of the UK 2020: Artist Maxwell Fine donates percentage of profits to Switchboard as calls to their LGBTQ+ helplines rise during COVID-19

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LONDON – Amidst stark warnings that the LGBTQ+ community is at increased risk of suicide and depression if observing lockdown in unsupportive or abusive homes, Maxwell Fine is donating a percentage of the sales of his dynamic typographical prints and sculptures to the helpline, Switchboard.

A long-time supporter of the LGBTQ+ charity, the artist and designer turned to the helpline himself while in a shattering, self-destructive relationship to try to help his partner who was paralysed by the fear of coming out to his family. Crippled by stigma around homosexuality, the enforced double life Fine’s partner was leading decimated his mental health. Ultimately, this pushed the couple to split when shame and anxiety placed unbearable pressure on their relationship. Fine was later able to channel this heartbreak into artwork: lifting the words from real-life conversations with his ex-partner to create work that is bravely candid, deeply personal and disarmingly joyful. His works aims challenge the stigma surrounding LGBTQ+ relationships by offering a glimpse into moments of unadulterated lust and delight.

Maxwell Fine trained at the prestigious Central Saint Martin’s School of Art before embarking on a decade-long career in Art Direction for TV and Advertising working with artists such as Ed Sheeran, Eminem and Lady Gaga. In 2018, he opened the Maxwell Fine Studio with the simple mission of creating loud and proud work that raises awareness for LGBTQ+ issues by using positivity, honesty and fabulous design. His most recent collections Robbed and Loved, focus on galvanising people to take control of their mental health and reminds them that no battle is fought alone. Working both in London and New York, Fine’s unfaltering mission and striking modern aesthetic cements him as one of the most exciting, emerging talents in the industry.

Natasha Walker, Co-Chair of Switchboard comments: “Almost every single call we are taking now features increased anxiety and isolation because of COVID-19. It’s magnifying existing situations people may be in already such as domestic violence, transphobia, biphobia and homophobia, and of course loneliness. It’s so important that we can get the message out to everyone that we exist, that we are still open and that you can still reach us. We have been here for the LGBTQ+ communities since 1974 and we have no plans to stop now.”

From coming out to going out, sexual health to mental health and anything in between, whatever the topic for confidential information and support, you can talk to Switchboard on 0300 330 0630 10am–10pm or online at http://www.switchboard.lgbt.

For more information about Maxwell Fine, visit their website here

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