From the age of 5, I wanted to be an artist. That and to be an acrobat! By 11 years old, I was representing GB as an acrobatic gymnast and after winning many titles (including European silver medalist), I was harangued for supposedly being ‘fat’! As a consequence, there were some health issues and when I went to college, my artwork was all about sad body images which were dark and reflective of my mental state. Although I got triple star distinctions for my course and foundation plus three University offers, I opted out of the system and became a professional artist at 18. I didn’t have an underprivileged background, but because of what happened to me in my sport, my mother put me in contact with The Prince’s Trust and I haven’t looked back since.
I learned so many important business lessons from my mentor and The Trust has given me a confidence that I don’t believe I would’ve got anywhere else. After writing to HRH The Prince of Wales to inform him of my success and to thank him for founding this wonderful organisation, I received a very personal and encouraging reply. I painted his portrait as my mark of respect for his dedication to all young people. The Trust was a silver lining from that dark cloud that hung over me all those years ago and they recently recognised my achievements and dedication by making me a Young Ambassador. It’s a huge honour to represent the charity that helped put me on the art world map and I’m now able to inspire other young people to achieve their goals. My life is full-on and couldn’t be further from those gloomy days and the perpetrator who nearly destroyed all that I was.
I’m an avid fundraiser and I’ve donated work and raised many thousands of pounds for charities including The Prince’s Trust, The Royal Marsden Hospital, The Royal British Legion, Rays of Sunshine, B-Eat, The Tower Project, The Bow Arts Project and UNICEF. I have several celebrity clients and advocates of my work and these include Pirelli F1 Motorsport, Lewis Hamilton, Sir Richard Branson, Sir John Madjeski, Sonia Meaden OBE (mother of Dragon Deborah) and Bond film stars Sir Roger Moore KBE and Fiona Fullerton.
I recently finished a collection of 24 Pop-Art Portraits and I’m starting another in a slightly different style. I alternate these with my new abstracts which are proving very popular here in the UK, with commissions recently shipped to Canada, Australia, South Africa and Mallorca. I’ve had 11 London exhibitions to date and I teach art to children and adults in my Oxford studio - accompanied by my cat Banksy! I’m thrilled to be able to say that “The future is bright…..it’s not orange, but a warm, glowing Amber!!”