How Seven Kings singer turned to art after becoming deaf

A profoundly deaf artist who displayed her work in Art Trail Wanstead has told how she was bidding for stardom in a pop band before she lost her hearing.

Emily Dupen showcased her selection of wallpaper designs in gift shop The Orange Tree and wine warehouse Majestic, both in high Street as part of the 16-day trail which aimed to promote community cohesion and bring more visitors to the area.

The Seven Kings resident’s applied artwork covers a range of themes from risqu� images of burlesque performers and half-naked women to vintage skiers, retro gardens and synchronised swimmers.

Some have been snapped up by department store Liberty in Regents Street, London while other designs for household items like tea towels, plates, mugs and cushions are set to feature in the autumn collection of Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly.

But the 29-year-old’s life could have been very different had she not lost her hearing aged 17 while studying for her A-levels at Seven Kings High School in Ley Street.


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She was pursuing a career in a girl band which was attracting the attention of major record labels but began suffering “non-stop” tinnitus after an evening in a West End music venue.

She began worrying that her hearing was deteriorating and her fears were confirmed at a school concert when mother Ann noticed she didn’t realise her notes were flat.

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Emily was taken to a test centre and the results showed she was losing hearing in both ears.

Around 18 months later she was profoundly deaf but refused to give up and decided to concentrate on another activity.

“I could have let it get to me but I’m not the sort of person who feels sorry for myself,” she said.

“At one early audition (before the hearing problem) I’d been asked what would happen if I didn’t succeed.

“I said ‘if I can’t be a famous singer then I’ll make it as an illustrator.’”

She now is able to hear by using implants which deliver robotic sounds.

To see Emily’s designs visit www.dupenny.com.

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