On 16 March 2020 the UK Government announced #lockdown and with that myself, along with thousands of other workers, found themselves without a job. Having worked as a #fashionillustrator and a visual art curator for an #artgallery in London, I was left without either of these jobs as the art world closed its doors for business.
The past 7 months have been extremely difficult. I was facing a desperate time of existential uncertainty. Being left with nothing, the only thing I could do was dream. That dream, which I realised I have had for years, turned into a vision; to evolve my passion for art and become a full-time artist. The problem was I had no idea how to get there and I was now hoping to create this plan at a time where the art industry was collapsing and support was non-existent. During the next 3 months I was balancing the stress of isolation, draining my savings, moving into a studio apartment before needing to relocate out of London; all whilst attempting to #sellart to survive.
I was telling myself that viruses don’t kill art, but I was seeing established and successful artists being pushed to the limits and this made me constantly question my vision and almost made me give up. Give up on myself, give up on people that matter the most and give up on my dream. It was at this point I found myself completing Mr. Rishi Sunak’s Government retraining questionnaire. I was mesmerised by the result – I should be a Judge! But perhaps that’s not so funny; and overnight I turned into my own Judge. I finally realised that sometimes it takes losing everything you thought you needed in order to grow, find yourself and gain everything you ever wanted. I’ve decided to take Mr. Sunak’s advice and rule in my own favour of sticking to what I know best and #followmydream.
Through thick and thin, with all my grit and determination, my life savings and endless hours of burning the midnight candle I have retrained, I have become not only a #fulltimeartist but a Business Owner, Marketing Manager, Website Designer, Strategy Director, Social Media Manager, Chief Accountant, Sales Manager, PR Director, Creative Director… And finally, in mid-October, I remarkably launched my #artbusiness, Remember That I Love You #RTILY. Not just any old art either, since the age of 4 all my art is created using only my fingers on a digital canvas and I continue to use this method with pieces of art taking sometimes weeks to complete. It is now being sold in the form of #limitededitionprints and bespoke #originalart..
I create #emotiveart which has a lot to say. The vision for RTILY is “to enrich people’s lives with the beauty of RTILY art, where words are not needed, just your own emotions”. What does that mean? Well I want to shake people and grab their attention with my art and allow them to both enjoy the beauty of it as well as feel and observe their own emotions; perhaps allowing them to connect to their own dreams and find the trust and inspiration in themselves to follow them. Oh and of course, one last goal is to make some money to pay the bills!
Despite all the hard work, the journey has just begun. When most artists are only appreciated after they have died, I have to find a way to establish myself, my brand, my niche, my artwork. Challenging to say the least as selling art online is hard and dominated by large online galleries taking close to 50% commission, but I am determined to succeed!
Having just unwrapped my latest artwork ‘Aiko’, meaning Child of Love in Japanese, I have my fingers and toes crossed and truly believe in this dream and the circumstances which have brought me here. All it leaves is for everyone else out there, spending more time at home, to support and #investinart and keep the dream going for all of us artists. I, for one, could not imagine this world without creativity, without books, music, films, TV, Theatre and all other art – so we have to stand firm and make sure we continue to keep the dream alive.
Losing everything was the only way to begin, and for that I am #grateful.
Remember That I Love You