The reason it all took off was because I posted that picture of the cow on Facebook, and then my mates asked me if I could do a commission. It’s always been social media driven. I’ve always got my work from mainly Facebook, until about six months ago, now it’s purely Instagram.
I had it in my head that I didn’t want to be an artist because of the skill set that I had. I wanted to set up a business in the art industry and help artists. I’d done some research and I wanted to help artists get commissions. I started making an app, and got pretty far. I had some investment, and then this particular investor wanted majority equity stake. I said no, that was the whole reason I had decided not to take the graduate scheme, because I had wanted to control my own shit.
And you were how old at this stage, 21?
Yep 21. Then I applied for this scheme that gives you access to mentors coaches you through the whole start-up process, I was convinced I was going to get it! I went into the interview in front of this panel of investors, and they ripped apart my idea. They just wanted to get behind my motives and what drove me.
“You’ve got to shift your perception and thrive off that sense of insecurity and instability”
I told them “I’m really passionate about art, over the past 6 months I’ve realised it’s what I need to be doing to keep me sane and I’ve been painting commissions to fund this.” One of the interviewers said “Why don’t you just be an artist then? You’ve got all these figures, you’ve got a certain amount of commissions.” It was the first time I’d been validated by someone I really respected. So I was like fuck it, maybe I should.
And has social media played a big part?
The most amazing thing about what I’m doing is that because of social media, I was one of the first in this cohort of artists to get on the bandwagon of getting commissions off of Instagram and Facebook.
I’m just kind of making it up as I go along. Just do it on social, pocket all the cash, do your own marketing, build your own website. Who else can market themselves better than you?
Everything that I get now, I fucking made that. Someone’s paid me off something I’m naturally making, and the brand that I’ve built, not because of anyone else.