11 minutes
by Jessica Garner


My creative piece attempts to highlight the struggle of someone who knows what they are doing is slowly killing them but are unable to stop themselves. I was shocked to find out that even though Robert's lung condition had nearly killed him and now he has to constantly be on oxygen, his adult children carry on smoking.

The handcuffs, made of cigarette smoke, represent how his children's addiction is also physically trapping them and they are incapable of doing anything about it. The resuscitation mask is included because Robert had to be attached to one of these for four hours in order to save his life. I imagine this would be a very poignant memory for all his family and that seeing him like this would be a reminder that they could end up like this too. Robert's expression and the way his hands are positioned is aimed to show a mixture of several different emotions; fear, helplessness, remorse and regret. Also, I wanted Robert to be in a suit because the patient had a good job, comfortable lifestyle and even though in his earlier years he was unaware of the dangers of smoking, he nevertheless spent many years smoking between sixty to eighty cigarettes a day knowing that it was bad for him.

This artwork is from the perspective of a heavy smoker and portrays the emotions involved in trying to quit. I want the viewer to realise that addiction isn't entirely the person's fault and hopefully the viewer will be somewhat more understanding and empathetic towards an addicted person. Also, I chose to title my art work 11 minutes because that is the average length of time a cigarette takes off your life.

*Robert is an anonymised name to protect patient confidentiality.

Jessica Garner, GP Attachment, Year One, 2013

Winner of an annual GP Attachment Creative Piece Award



26 October 2017 - 15:30:01
"I think this is an amazing piece .I found this image very powerful. I believe it caused me to look at the idea of addiction in a different light as the piece portrays a more empathetic view towards addiction.I also loved the title "11 minutes" and how it emphasises the harsh reality that smoking 1 cigarette extremely effects your health , taking off 11 minutes off your life, on average,per cigarette. "


27 October 2017 - 08:55:03
"This piece has a dramatic effect on the observer; they can see the horrendous physical consequences of long term heavy smoking. Furthermore, the piece highlights how the 'disease' of addiction starts long before the symptoms and physical manifestations. This links to the really interesting idea of addiction being a disease- although alcoholism is now often thought of as a disease, smoking is not. The lack of colour creates a sombre feel to this piece, making it moving to the observer as you can get an idea of the emotional suffering that this person and family are experiencing."


29 October 2017 - 15:17:42
"This is a very clever piece with such an amazing and inspiring story behind it. His life story can be pretty much portrayed in a just a painting, I think the handcuffs representing his children's addiction is a very powerful idea. "


29 October 2017 - 21:52:27
"This really is thought provoking, Jessica. I think this drawing clearly depicts the struggles associated with having an addiction. I liked how the longer I looked at it the more a started to notice and understand what was going on, however the resuscitation mask is what stands out most for me. The story of how a young, successful man can become so close to death due to an addiction which began due to his unawareness and his attitude towards his own health sends a very powerful message. Furthermore, the fact that smoking is so prevalent in our society only accentuates the evocativeness of this piece. Also, you are a very talented drawer!"


29 October 2017 - 21:56:46
"I found this to be a very clever and imaginative peace that had the desired effect of making the observer see addiction in an entirely different light The title is both thought provoking and shocking, highlighting the detrimental effect even one cigarette can have on someone's health. Furthermore the use of smoke as handcuffs symbolises how Robert is physically, mentally and emotionally trapped with no escape, totally reliant on cigarettes, The bleak use of colours is almost representative of the outcome for this patient and quality of life he can now expect to have. "


30 October 2017 - 07:46:10
"This image was initially shocking and is extremely thought provoking. The desperate and almost pleading for help expression sums up the difficulty that inidviduals face when they want to give up an addiction yet are struggling to do so. It helped to reiterate to me the fact that many addictions are not of choice. The black and white image gives the image a harsher tone! Overall an amazing piece!"

Roseanne Ismail

30 October 2017 - 07:50:00
"The message this piece carries is very powerful. The combination of the facial expression - which shows the suffering and disappointment- and the position of his hands - resembling his constant fight of keeping himself from puffing the cigarette - really show the struggle he must've went through while trying to overcome his addiction. The title of the piece intrigued me as well. Eleven minutes doesn't seem that long and almost insignificant in someone's day however, cumulatively it has a more dramatic effect. In a way this resembles the effect of a cigarette and how a person could be minimising its dangers and not seeing the bigger more horrific picture."


30 October 2017 - 08:21:56
"This is a very powerful piece which puts into perspective just how devastating addictions can be on an individual's life. It shows the individual in a very vulnerable position that is the result of a long battle with a serious addiction. I think that the handcuffs, made of the cigarette smoke, really highlight how detrimental addictions such as smoking can be but also how difficult it is to alter those behaviours. It highlights how the individual feels trapped by their addiction and also his family who have continued this smoking behaviour despite their father's condition. Finally, the pencil drawing with a duller tone reflects the decreased quality of life that the individual, and his family, will be facing in the future due to this addiction. Overall it is an amazing piece!"


30 October 2017 - 19:41:11
"The relevance of this piece in context to today's medicine somewhat extenuates the powerfulness of this drawing. A generation of heavy smokers as come to light in recent years to primary care clinicians with older patients suffering from a chronic respiratory illness which medicine has no answer for. The piece does a great job of portraying the self-incarceration that addiction causes and better helps highlights the patient's dependence on other to fuel it. It brings to light the individualism of patients in medicine and explores motives towards individuals move towards health behaviour. "


04 November 2018 - 22:12:39
"Strong piece, very relevant to modern day. Shows how addiction can be a struggle for many people and how it can shackle someone to it and stops them getting away and slowly dying from the addiction. The imagery of the windpipe gives a good double image of someone who may end up on a ventilator but also how they are destroying their windpipe."


04 November 2018 - 22:12:39
"When viewing this piece the sense of being trapped and resentment is extremely prevalent. You can see how the worry for his adult children has left him disabled in someway as they are making the same decisions as he did despite seeing and knowing the consequences. The idea to draw him in a suit to show that disease and indeed addiction is non-discriminatory was very clever as most people think "it will never happen to me" it highlights that regardless of job or educational background you, just like Robert, can be effected. By adding that personal aspect I believe this piece can make people act more empathetically as having an understanding of addiction and how difficult it actually is to live with they can now be supportive of the patient as they understand their needs better. "


04 November 2018 - 22:18:31
"Strong piece, very relevant to modern day. Shows how addiction can be a struggle for many people and how it can shackle someone to it and stops them getting away and slowly dying from the addiction. The imagery of the windpipe gives a good double image of someone who may end up on a ventilator but also how they are destroying their windpipe."


04 November 2018 - 22:12:39
"Strong piece, very relevant to modern day. Shows how addiction can be a struggle for many people and how it can shackle someone to it and stops them getting away and slowly dying from the addiction. The imagery of the windpipe gives a good double image of someone who may end up on a ventilator but also how they are destroying their windpipe."


06 November 2018 - 09:15:52
"A very thought provoking and well named piece, that tells an important story. It really represents Roberts entrapment but also a certain extent of helplessness. The theme of addiction is also really well portrayed by the personalisation of the piece."


06 November 2018 - 09:18:43
"A powerful piece which clearly highlights the struggles of coping with an addiction. I particularly enjoy the metaphor of the handcuffs made of smoke which I interpreted to depict how the patient feels trapped by his addiction. Furthermore, the illustration of his face and hands show the physical consequences of smoking- also highlighted by the lack of colour in the piece. Overall, I think the artwork is poignant and I think the title '11 minutes' captures the message of the art really well. "

Ammar Siddiqui

04 November 2019 - 11:37:48
"This, very strong art piece highlights the patients struggle of someone who knows they are killing themselves slowly, but they are unable to stop themselves. This is highlighted by the handcuffs which represents how he has been locked up by his addiction of smoking, and as both his hands have been cuffed, he has no way of breaking away from the addiction of smoking he has. The hands are holding a cigarette which represents that he is locked into this habit of his and he can never break out of it. The handcuffs have cigarette smoke coming out of them which further emphasises him trapped in the cycle of his addiction. The resuscitation mask represents the man realising that he made a bad mistake by smoking these cigarettes but how the addiction has put him in shackles and how he can’t stop regardless of what he knows about the condition. His hand position represents his helplessness about his condition and represents regret and him pleading to himself to stop. His facial expression also shows his internal battle regarding the addiction. The idea of the trachea and the resuscitation mask gives the idea that the patient is requiring a ventilator, but this person is still purposefully destroying his trachea and his other internal organs."

Ed Creamer

06 November 2019 - 07:08:36
"I found the artwork “11 minutes” a very powerful and thought provoking piece. The themes of addiction and unwillingly causing self-harm I find are interesting. The cigarette in the man’s hand shows us the form of his addiction with the handcuffs made from smoke showing us how strongly he is trapped. I like how the man is smartly dressed in a suit however his body inside is wasting away showing us how on the outside he may look normal or even good but within his body is dying. The use of a black and white colour scheme emphasises the lack of life and happiness brought about by his addiction making it more powerful to learn that he and his children still continue to smoke. The pained and saddened look on his face is masterfully created showing that although he knows what he is doing is killing him he is trapped and cannot stop, he is also sad as he can see his children going down the same path despite them having seen the consequences."