Amelia is a 19-year-old artist from Hampshire in the UK; she specializes in acrylic paintings and has studied Fine Art at both school and college. When she left college at 18 she started posting her artworks on Instagram and grew a considerable following quickly. Her artworks found buyers and eventually she decided to make it into a career. Amelia is an abstract artist, specializing in colourful nude paintings; however she has also started painting landscapes recently. “I like to fill my paintings with fun colors and plenty of energy, and often work with women to paint pieces surrounding their bodies,” she says.
What’s your artistic background?
I studied art at both school and college, meaning I hold a GCSE and an A Level in Fine Art, but other than that I am self-taught. I had originally planned to study Architecture as a degree, but something was telling me that wasn’t what I was meant to do, so I took a gap year to figure out what I actually wanted. During the first lockdown, I started painting and posting some of my pieces on Instagram, purely to pass the time. I grew a following and soon started doing commissioned art work for customers. Around August 2020, I decided I was going to try and make a career out of my art, since then I’ve just been painting, gathering skill and experience. I had no idea this would wind up being my job, but it couldn’t feel more right. I am so glad I followed my gut and took that year out, life works in weird ways.
What’s integral to the work of an artist?
Passion! 100%. Passion and commitment to your work is what drives success in this industry. You’ve got to give everything you have to your art and building your brand as an artist. That means constantly producing good quality work but also work that your audience can see your energy through. It’s about having a vision and then putting in the work to make it happen. Trust me when I say it doesn’t always go right, but being committed to your art means that you will keep on trying until it does. It’s all good having big dreams, but as I tell myself on a daily basis, the dream doesn’t work unless you do! So be committed, put in the work and love every second of it!
What role does the artist have in society?
Generally, I think as an artist it is my job to find beauty in what’s around us, whether it is people or nature and express this through painting. I think art is so important to brighten up the world and add some creativity to life. It’s an artist’s job to get people thinking, for people to look at a painting and think about the story behind it, rather than just what they can see. I get my inspiration from the people that I meet, the places that I go to and the experiences that I have, as an artist, it is then my role to translate this into art that other people can appreciate too.
What art do you most identify with?
Art that makes me ask questions and gets me wanting to know more. When I was studying Fine Art at college, I researched Edvard Munch and explored one of his most famous paintings ‘The Scream’. I found it so interesting to find out his background and the story behind his work. I also love textured abstract art that is full of energy, it always makes me wonder what the artist was feeling when they created the piece. Art that has a good story behind it is my favourite kind of art.
What themes do you pursue?
On social media I have mainly built up my brand as an abstract nude artist. I started painting nudes around a year ago, and have since worked with lots of amazing women to create art surrounding their bodies. More recently, I decided I wanted to challenge myself and I painted a collection of landscapes using beautiful photographs that my followers sent me. I really enjoyed the process but it was definitely out of my comfort zone! I’ve also painted some abstract pieces using a palette knife which is a style that I love because it is so freeing. I never want to limit myself to one particular theme because experimenting with new ideas and challenging yourself to try styles you’re not familiar with is how growth happens. I’m sure I will pursue many new themes throughout my career.
What’s your favourite art work?
This has got to be one of the hardest questions for an artist. Each piece I’ve done is special to me for their own reasons, whether it is the client I was working with or just the energy and emotion I put into it. Being trusted to create a piece of art for someone is the most incredible feeling so any of the commissions I’ve worked on mean the most to me, especially the nudes I’ve painted. It’s such an honour to be able to create a painting for someone surrounding their body and to hear how the painting makes them feel empowered. I recently painted a piece as an original, I found it really challenging and it took me weeks to get it right, but once I did it really spoke to me. Quite often the ones I find the most challenging end up being some of my best pieces. I named this piece ‘It’s A Journey’ for this exact reason!
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
Another tricky one! Most artists will tell you that we are inspired by so many situations every day, that’s part of the job. The situation that stands out most to me, and probably the main reason why I have such a passion for making women feel beautiful through my art is something quite personal. When I was 16 I was diagnosed with a chronic illness as a result of a lot of mental health struggles I faced at a young age. Without getting too much into that, I created a painting which expressed all these feelings I had towards my body by using different colours that I associated with my emotions. It was the first time I’d ever related a painting to my personal life and I was so proud of it. It made me feel strong to see my body (something that I don’t have the best relationship with) being made into art that was colourful and didn’t make me feel self-conscious about all the things that don’t work how they should. Now a big part of my job is about making other women feel proud of their bodies too and I’ll always be delighted that I’ve managed to do this through painting.
Now this is something I could talk about all day. In short, art saved me. Art is my therapy and there is literally nothing I would rather be doing. I’ve loved art since I was tiny and my dad is an incredible artist so I was brought up watching him work and being in complete awe of the work that he was making. I was absolutely the child that drew all over the furniture, much to my mother’s disgust, hopefully she understands why now! Art is my escape, when there’s too much going on up there, I can completely lose myself in painting and this has proved to be so important over the last couple of years. Being creative is so beneficial to our mental health and creating art you are really proud of is the most amazing feeling.
What is an artistic outlook on life?
Good question! I’d have to say being able to see the beauty in everything. Anything can be art if you give it a chance and I think that defines an artistic outlook on life. There is beauty in everything, even if it’s hard to find and believing that is so important as an artist!
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Over the past year I have received some of the most incredible messages about my work, I can’t even begin to explain how it feels to know that my work has an impact on people’s lives. I’ve had people tell me that my work has inspired them to pick up painting again, or even try it for the first time! It’s amazing to see that doing something I really love is benefiting other people too. The most heart-warming response I’ve had though was actually quite recent, I received a message on Instagram from a man who underwent brain surgery a few years ago, he said that he had started painting after this surgery and that my work has been a big inspiration to him on his journey. It just feels so insane to me that my work is helping people and it is the main reason why I will never stop doing this.
What food, drink, song inspires you?
As much as I love food and drink I wouldn’t say I find it particularly helpful while looking for inspiration, however you will never find me working without a cup of tea in hand as I’m sure a lot of artists will relate to! Music on the other hand is so important to me, I never paint without my headphones in, I find it really helps me to concentrate on myself and the work I am creating. I have a soundtrack that I work to which includes some Elton John, Fleetwood Mac and Tom Odell, these are probably my favourites. If I’m painting something with lots of energy then upbeat music is important to add to the movement of the brushstrokes and if I’m working on a detailed piece then acoustic music is what I’ll be listening to. I actually think music plays a huge part in the work I create and sometimes if a specific song really got me through the piece, I’ll name the painting after the song.
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
I’m sure people will be surprised by this but no, I don’t find the artistic life lonely at all. Obviously most artists spend a lot of time working alone so I understand why some might disagree with me. I enjoy my own company while I’m working, and tend to work much better when it’s just me and the art. On social media, I’ve met some incredible artists that work in the same field as me and there is always someone on the other end of the phone if I’m having a bad day or need a chat with someone like-minded. In terms of real life, I’ve also had the chance to meet people that I would never have met if this wasn’t my job, and often when I go out I get talking to people about my job because they’re interested in what I do which is really cool. It’s still important to make sure I’m not alone with my art all day every day, so meeting friends and spending time with family is still super important, but I definitely wouldn’t say I’m lonely. Also Elsa, my German Shephard dog is almost always lying by my feet while I’m working so I’m never really alone!
What do you dislike about the art world?
The art world can be quite a toxic place, like with anything; people can be very quick to judge and form negative opinions about other people’s work. I’m super lucky to not have experienced this too much but obviously criticism is a huge part of putting your work out there in the world and therefore something we do have to be prepared for. Not everyone will like your work or agree with what you’re doing but unfortunately that is just life. The hardest part for me is the lack of belief people seem to have in the art industry. I was growing up, as an arty kid, constantly being told that ‘you can never make it as an artist’ and that ‘it isn’t a proper job’ which makes you doubt yourself. Even when I first decided to pursue this, there were plenty of eye-rolls which can be a kick in the teeth. But with that comes the opportunity to prove people wrong, which gives me a lot of motivation to work harder, so it’s not all bad.
What do you dislike about your work?
Similar to what I said before, the lack of belief that people have in artists can be really upsetting, especially when we spend so many hours working on our dreams to be told ‘it’s never gonna happen’. However, people are allowed opinions and accepting that is part of the job. I’d also say, I’m constantly in a fight between lacking motivation and almost having too much of it. I’ll either have no ideas and no energy to think of them, or I’ll have all the ideas and never get anything done because I can’t stick to one thing at a time. It’s all or nothing with me which can be quite a challenge but I’m still learning and that’s okay! I’m sure many artists will agree with this one too, but it is the most disheartening feeling when you can’t seem to get a painting right, even if you’ve done it right a thousand times before, some days it just doesn’t work and pushing past those days can be super hard, but like I said before, some of the best work is made in those times.
What do you like about your work?
If my 8-year-old self knew that one day she’d be painting and making art every day as a career, she would never have believed it. This has always been such a big dream of mine that I once thought was totally unrealistic, so it is completely insane to me that I’m actually doing this. Besides that though, just getting to be free and creative every day is amazing. I’m really proud of my work and how far I’ve come since I started doing this. I’ve struggled a lot with life at times in the past, and I just feel so lucky that I’ve found a job that brings me so much happiness every day.
Should art be funded?
Absolutely! Without a doubt. As I mentioned before, art is so beneficial to our mental health and I think everyone should be able to access it. I also think it’s important that young adults are made aware of job opportunities in the art world, because there are so many pathways in the creative industry that aren’t just ‘being an artist’ and they should be encouraged more for sure.
What role does arts funding have?
It gives people the opportunity to start a career in art, or even just to use art to benefit themselves. This is definitely something we need more of.
What is your dream project?
I’d love to have my own studio where I can display my work but also have the freedom to work bigger and make more mess than I can at home. It would be so much fun to just invite people in for a cuppa and a chat while I paint. I’d also love to put on a big art show where I can showcase my favourite pieces and meet and talk to people that have an interest in art. There are so many dreams; I could go on about this all day! Mainly I just want to continue spreading love and positivity through my work for as long as I can, whatever else comes with that is a bonus!
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
I admire so many people’s work but we are all on our own journeys so I don’t think comparison is necessary. In terms of inspiration, Sophie Tea is an artist I found a few months into my journey, she paints the most incredible nudes and her work ethic is so inspiring. Before I found her, I’d never really known of any young female artists who are successful and have such a huge impact on so many people. Knowing that she has been able to make an incredibly successful career out of her art is so motivational, it showed me that it is absolutely possible and that will keep me going for a long time.
Favourite or most inspirational place?
Oooh good one! My family owns a beach hut on the South Coast where I spent so much of my childhood; it’s my favourite place in the world. Whenever I’m there I think of so many new ideas and I feel so refreshed and ready to make something new.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
To not compare my journey as an artist to anyone else’s, it’s so easy to see someone doing better and think you’re not doing enough, but we are all at different stages in our careers and that’s so important to remember. Also, to never throw away a piece of work, even if I really don’t like it and I can’t get it right, I put it to the side and come back to it later, could be hours later or it could be weeks, but it is always possible to save a painting if you keep going with it. My favourite quote as an artist is ‘to be an artist, you have to give up everything, including the desire to be a good artist’, which inspires me to just keep going and know that as long as I’m working hard, I’ll get where I want to be one day.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
I’d love to continue to grow my business and my audience, hopefully getting more of my work out there in the world and also gaining more skill as I go. It would be amazing to have my own studio and to exhibit my work to new people. More importantly I want to continue to help women feel empowered and spread more love through my art. I’m happy with the direction I am going in now though, so I’m taking every day as it comes and we’ll see where it takes me!
I am working on bringing out a few new collections of art in the near future, as well as continuing to work with clients on commissions and hopefully grow my client base more. I plan to get more of my original pieces made into prints and reach new people through my art. Most importantly, I hope to continue loving what I do and one day be the successful artist I’ve dreamt of being since I was tiny.