She dropped out of her degree and quit her job in retail to pursue her dream to be an artist.
And Becky Smith’s gamble has paid off – in spades.
The 22-year-old former Rivers Academy pupil was taken on by Wyecliffe Gallery in Weybridge and has managed to turn her passion into a lucrative and successful career.
Inspiration for her work comes in many guises for Becky, and her paramedic neighbour was the source of her latest creation which she has kindly and generously donated to New Malden Ambulance Station.
Becky said that she felt inspired by the tireless work of neighbour Aaron Lander and his paramedic colleagues, so wanted to bring some joy to the office.
Next week, Becky will auction another painting – worth over £1,000 – taking place on Wyecliffe Gallery’s Facebook page, with all proceeds being donated to the NHS Charities Together.
Her contract with the gallery is a huge accomplishment for an artist of her age, as she admits: “Most of my peers are in their 30s or 40s, and have had previous careers before they became artists, so being taken on at all at my age is my biggest success.”
She has had a very impressive start to her career, having sold over 100 pieces in her first two years as a professional artist.
Her paintings can sell anywhere between several hundred pounds and several thousand pounds, making it possible for Becky to make a living from her passion.
The vast majority of her work is sold through Wyecliffe Gallery, which offers lots of benefits for an artist like Becky.
“With Wycliffe, I have access to an array of benefits, including a large client base, marketing and advertising of my works, professional photography, in-store displays and database wide emails” she said.
Becky has always wanted to pursue a career in art, throughout her time at school, college and university.
She said: “I’ve always known that this is what I wanted to do with my life.
“I was so passionate about art whilst studying at Rivers, I would spend my lunch breaks doing art, spending as much time as possible in the art rooms and painting!
“I still have sketch books from when I was six years old!” Becky added.
The work that Becky completes for the gallery is mostly based on nature, including the depiction of things like trees, birds, and skies, because there was a lacuna of work in that style at the gallery when she was taken on.
Her success at the gallery is a combination of taking risks and consistent hard work, dedication and commitment to perfecting her craft.
Becky dropped out of her degree at the Wimbledon College of Arts at the same time as quitting her job in retail, in order to pursue a career at the gallery: “When I started at Wyecliffe, I was just doing deliveries, and then worked my way up!” she said.
Outside of her work for the gallery itself, Becky has utilised the power of social media to secure collaborations with international brands and work with them on global projects.
One of these was with international toolmaking powerhouse Dremel, as Becky was selected to be the star of their annual video campaign titled ‘Extraordinary Maker’.
“Dremel contacted me through Instagram after finding my glue work through using the hashtags on my posts, and asked me to be a part of their film.
“It took a few months of preparing, them asking me questions and sending over products for me to try, and then they flew a team over from Amsterdam to film me for a whole weekend, which was so much fun!” Becky explained.
As a young and successful artist, Becky has plenty of advice to offer other budding artists hoping to pursue a career in the industry.
Becky explained: “The art industry can be a tricky one to get in to, but with a lot of persistence, positive thinking and determination, anything is possible.
“I push my work a lot on social media, posting on all of the local Facebook pages for more exposure; and I also gain a lot of attraction and opportunities for myself from hashtags on Instagram, often leading to brands finding me.
“It can take years of practice to get it right, so don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t go right the first time. It is all about making mistakes and learning from them, so stay patient!”
To view the rest of Becky Smith’s portfolio, visit her social media pages on the following: