My name is Roz. I’m a 24-year-old self-taught, photorealistic, watercolour pet portrait artist from Stubbington, UK.
Like most kids, I started out spending my days at the art table in pre-school, daubing paint everywhere and bringing home hideous pictures for my parents to reluctantly pin all over the house. Throughout school and college, I had an affinity for the creative subjects, and when I was about seventeen years old I had my first piece in an exhibition. After a few years away at university focusing on my studies, I picked up the paintbrush again and started taking commissions, and my business has blossomed since!
It took me a while to figure out which subjects I liked best and what medium I preferred working in. Regarding subject matter, I’ve always adored animals and found myself inspired by the necessity for conservation, rescue and rehabilitation. The appeal of watercolours originated from my grandmother, Pauline Wills. It’s a name that should have been better known, for she created the most beautiful watercolour landscapes, but sadly she passed away before her time. After many years of experimentation, I’m now focused on photorealistic watercolour pet portraiture.
I’ve always adored animals and found myself inspired by the necessity for conservation, rescue and rehabilitation.
I do paint a range of different animals and occasionally work in other mediums, such as acrylic paint or pencil, and I have been known to dabble in tattoo, logo, and clothing design on occasion. This past year I’ve branched out; I’ve opened an online shop and have become involved in several events where I pitch a stall and liaise with many of my fans.
It sounds like an easy, dream job, but there are a lot of challenges facing artists. For one, running your own business is intense! In addition to the plethora of responsibilities involved, you need to be motivated 24/7, and we all know that with the ups and downs of life, that’s not always the case. It can at times feel like a chore. The main issue I face on an almost daily basis is the general publics’ attitude toward artists.
It sounds like an easy, dream job, but there are a lot of challenges facing artists.
I’ve had people expect free work or discount because they’re a student, poor, disabled, think that I shouldn’t charge money for doing something I love, etc., and I have received extremely rude remarks about my pricing. There are also individuals who do not respect intellectual property (copyright) I’ve had quite a few of my artworks used without my permission by tattoo parlours, clothing and phone case companies, and to make matters worse, those people often get quite nasty and spiteful when you issue a cease & desist. It’s an uphill battle and it can be so demoralising.
Despite these challenges, I remain motivated. I love doing what I do, and honestly my customers are what keep me going during difficult times. I get a huge boost of motivation when I hear about how happy my customers are upon receiving their order. I’ve had people speechless, reduced to tears, and it’s heart-warming to know that I’ve brought so much joy to complete strangers and that something I poured my soul into to create will be cherished for decades to come.
… I think the most honest piece of advice I can give you (aspiring artists) is to stand true to yourself and keep doing what you’re passionate about.
If you’re considering becoming an artist, or you are an artist who would like to become more established, I think the most honest piece of advice I can give you is to stand true to yourself and keep doing what you’re passionate about. People will push you around, expect free work, get angry at your pricing, maybe even steal your work. But the attitudes of the people who appreciate what you do swamp those who do not. You will make a lot of people very happy while doing something that you love, so make the most of your talent!