Local artist continues to defy expectations

Justine Martin and Pansy, the star of her new children's book Same Same But Different (Ivan Kemp) 277832_06

By Matt Hewson

Justine Martin believes anyone can turn their dreams into reality if they set their mind to it, and has demonstrated that belief with the release of her first children’s book and the launch of her new publishing company.

Last Friday Ms Martin launched Same Same But Different, a book that promotes inclusion and kindness through the lens of her pet dachshund, Pansy.

“I’d always wanted to write a children’s book and leave something for my grandchildren,” Ms Martin said.

“When I got Pansy I saw how she’s friends with absolutely everyone, and I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if that was society, if that was the community.

“Whether it’s religion, or disability, or race, or whatever the reasoning is, we should treat everyone the same. Same same, but different.”

The Geelong-based artist, who lives with multiple sclerosis, has beaten three instances of cancer, and suffered a number of other serious health conditions, continues to defy others’ expectations about what she can and cannot achieve.

“Eleven years ago I was told I’d never be able to work again,” Ms Martin said.

“That was their false belief, they didn’t know me well enough. I had employment agencies tell me there wasn’t enough funding or time to retrain me.

“Yeah, it does take me a lot longer to complete tasks and do some things, but it doesn’t mean I can’t do them.

“It’s been about finding a different way to learn, and having a support worker to help me with stuff.”

Ms Martin runs the Justine Martin Corporation, under which umbrella she manages six businesses, including the recently launched Morpheus Publishing, through which she now publishes her own books.

Same Same But Different is the first of a series of four books that Ms Martin intends to publish, with Pansy as the star, and she said she hopes to serve as an inspiration to others who might have been told they can’t achieve their goals.

“I’d like to think that if there are other disabled people out there, or other people who are diverse and struggling, that they can see my story and go, well, she’s doing it, I can do it as well,” she said.

“If I come up with an idea, I follow through with that idea, and maybe I can change a few other lives in the process.”