By Noa Blane Damelin, Digital Features Editor
University of Bristol graduate Katie Pritchard took advantage of the UK’s two national lockdowns this year to start her own independent art business, selling commissioned paintings, posters, vases, t-shirts and more on her Etsy page and her Instagram account.
Epigram sits down with this inspiring grad to discuss her artistic process, her inspiration for starting her own business, and why we all need to celebrate the female nude form.
Q: How and why did you set up your business?
I just started painting during the first lockdown to have a creative outlet during my dissertation and finals. It was never meant to form a business but after dedicating more time to my art, I decided to sell some postcards. It was an alternative way to make money when the pandemic meant I couldn’t do my usual summer work.
I have really promoted all my art through Instagram and set up an Etsy page to have a platform for payments and promotions.
Q: How do you go about creating your art and coming up with new designs?
It’s always challenging to be innovative and Instagram is saturated with very similar designs just through the nature of social media and new creatives coming to light during the pandemic.
In the first lockdown, I tried to experiment with new designs every couple of weeks and then put them out on my Instagram to judge the response. I rarely bin new designs which encourages improvement!
Q: What is your artistic process?
It entirely depends what I’m doing but the bulk of my work is commission-based and mostly nudes. I work with the client on their preferred style and colours (sometimes they give me the freedom to surprise them which is lovely).
I generally take inspiration from my favourite pieces I’ve done and then work from the photos I’ve been sent.
It’s important to update the client as your progress and I think it’s nice to have a dialogue in case they want anything changing (although this hasn’t happened yet!)
Q: Why is it important that we celebrate the nude female form more?
Women are hyper-sexualised by mainstream media, ranging from how female bodies are discussed in the press to the white-washed, cis-gendered beauty standards expected of us. It’s important to create a culture where our bodies are celebrated and seen as art forms rather than objects - where women take ownership rather than feel owned.
When diet pills, exercise regimes and juice plans are pushed by celebrities across social media, it is important to have a counter narrative.
Q: How did your time at Bristol help you become a small business founder?
Being at Bristol allowed me to be surrounded by some incredibly inspiring and powerful women, ranging from my housemates to people I worked with in societies. Having a network of these individuals is empowering and my Bristol friends have been my forces of encouragement throughout my art process.
Bristol is also a place which encourages art of all forms, creativity and new ways of thinking. This type of environment inspires entrepreneurs and artists alike.
Q: Any advice to other Bristol students? Words of wisdom?
Having my art business has been such an asset in job interviews - it gives you an edge in conversation and shows your self-starting nature.
When the job market is saturated with keen graduates, it is important to differentiate yourself. This could be in starting a new business, joining a society, setting up a University initiative or getting involved in charity work.
Being at University, especially in Bristol, gives you so many opportunities to get involved in projects beyond campus. Whether or not your volunteering, business idea or society work is related to your career, these experiences set you apart from everyone else.
KP Paints has gone from strength to strength since April. Today she has over 1k followers on Instagram and has 5-star reviews on her thriving Etsy page.
Support her by following her on Instagram @kp.paints or checking out her Etsy page: KP Paints UK.
Would you consider supporting small independent businesses like Katie's this Christmas and festive gifting season?
Featured Image: Katie Pritchard / Epigram