Sophie Tea is an artist who is changing the game. From breaking the traditional route into the art world to having hundreds of people comment on an Instagram post to get their hands on an original piece, Sophie Tea could be offering the art world well – a fresh coat of paint!
Beginning her artistry in 2015, Sophie was struck by inspiration whilst travelling in India. She recalls asking a hostel manager if she could add to the artwork she saw on the wall, “It was a moment where I fell in love and realised this is what I needed to do!”
Since then, in just five years Sophie Tea’s success as an artist has totally skyrocketed and landed on a bright pink shop on Carnaby Street!
After her realisation, Tea set to pursuing her career. However, she did not do this via the traditional route. Sophie said, “I’ve focused on using social media as the platform that I sell my artwork through. I recognised very early on that I would have to represent myself.”
At first she was relying on friends and family commissions through Facebook. This eventually lead her to set up an Instagram account where she amassed a considerable following. This journey into the art world is a fresh change to the long held industry standard of an artist being represented by a gallery and facing tough competition and commission rates.
Sophie explains all of this in an excitable way, however it is clear she has worked incredibly hard to get where she is. “When it comes to setting up a business, its always on,” she admits. Behind the dazzling success of her artwork is not just an artist, but an incredibly motivated woman and her team.
When it comes to what Sophie has achieved so far this year, she is proud of the hard work showcased in her team by pulling together her biggest show yet. This was to celebrate the opening of the Carnaby Street shop. Sophie says that despite the challenges 2020 has brought, “The positivity in our team is something to be recognised.”
Just like social media gave Sophie a platform to sell her artwork through, modern technology allowed Sophie to welcome people to her London shop in a holographic way, where she was projected all the way from Sydney.
However, the hologram wasn’t the only surprising thing present at the shop launch, the shop opening featured a group of naked women proudly parading their paint covered bodies in a vibrant celebration of art.
Tea has famously worked on many pieces featuring the female Nude. The narrative of how the ‘Nudie’ project came about involved Sophie using the internet to search for pictures for her paintings. She quickly noticed the search results only produced photos of women’s naked bodies in a pornographic way. She then decided to turn to her social media following for photos instead. Tea asked her followers if they would like to, ‘Send Nudes’.
“I woke up to over a thousand Nude images on my Instagram. With every single image, people had also written an explanation of why it was important for them to send it. People had sent some of the most amazing, humbling stories.”
One story in particular stood out to Sophie, she said one woman had send in a Nude who had undergone a double mastectomy and asked if the picture could be part of the campaign. Every submission was powerful and inspiring, wether it was from featuring a backstory or a funny caption.
When it comes to inspiration, currently Sophie is engaged in a project titled 100 Days of Art, inspired daily by what she loves, from things like french fries to a bird sitting on her windowsill. “Every single day at 8pm I release on Instagram a piece of artwork that I have painted that day and it’s everything that I love.”
When the piece is released, the first person to comment is able to purchase the item. Sophie Tea Art has also set up one of the worlds first pay through instalments options for the art, making purchasing her work much more accessible.
Other sources of artistic inspiration for Sophie, include notable artist Ashley Longshore for her brightly coloured pop culture related pop art style and Tracey Emin. Sophie says she admires that Tracey Emin articulates perfectly, how “In the art world, its all about taking action”. Sophie relates this school of thought to the advice she would give to the next generation of emerging talent.
For aspiring artists Sophie advised, “I am the strongest believer in just pressing go. My favourite quote is, ‘One day or day One’”. She then explained it’s meaning as “Do it. There will never be a set of circumstances where your finances are in order, you have enough friends, you have enough time. It just doesn’t exist. I just think, Do it!”
There certainly seems to be no stopping in sight for this artist at the moment. The digital age looks like it may bring about many changes and opportunities within the art industry and there could be other artists alike who will soon follow suit in being digitally lead.