I was born in 1977 in Southampton. My mum and dad had problems so, I when I was six years old, I got moved from Southampton to Wedmore in Somerset to live with my grandparents. It had loads of woodland and wildlife.
When I was a child, I used to watch a lot of wildlife programmes on the BBC. I saw these birds in a cartoon called David the Gnome. I got hooked on drawing cartoon pictures of animals.
My first job was in a bakery and the people were really aggressive. Like “boy, go and do that”. I didn’t get paid, all I got was bread and cakes.
My mates at college were into rock on one side and the other side were into r’n’b and techno. You felt like “which side do I join?” Then everybody started to like me because I was into both pop music and techno. People started becoming really friendly – I was building a friendly environment.
I was at college doing a Workskills course when I managed to catch a bus on my own all the way from college to home. It was like a bus ride to independence. It reminded me of the story of the sword in the stone. I told my gran when I got home how I’d caught a bus back on my own. My gran could not believe it.
I’ve done many jobs. Now I live with my aunty and uncle – I’m their carer. I do their cooking and help them to wash their clothes. They both have learning disabilities. And I get help and support from them as well. I do like sticking up for a lot of people who do need their disability rights heard.
When Nicola Grove, founder of community arts charity Open Storytellers, came to my day centre in Somerset 21 years ago, she said: “How many of you want to become storytellers?” Forget day services – we will become storytellers!
I set up my own company, Robin Meader Artist, in 2010. I’ve got a circle of support that helps me to get the jobs. If you want to set up your own business, you should just feel like “yeah, I can do that”. That’s what disabled people should be doing – looking for work and skills and power.