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Art: “Irish agriculture plays a big part in my work” | Pro Club Bd

This is farming Editor Catherina Cunnane in conversation with Amy Stewart (19). She talks about her business, Amy Stewart Art, her connections to farming and a livestock market, the positive impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on business growth and her international reach.

“I’m from County Antrim in Northern Ireland and have lived here since I was born. Although I don’t come from a farming background myself, many of my close friends are.

Since my youth I have been interested in drawing and all crafts.

I’ve always been very good at creating something from nothing and would spend hours at my kitchen table drawing and painting.

It wasn’t until I got my first job in a livestock market that my eyes opened to the world of farming, which has been reflected in my work from that point on.

I left school at 16 to complete a 2 year Level 3 BTEC course in Industrial Art and Design.

I then went on to do an Advanced Level 3/4 Basic Diploma in Art and Design which I just completed this year.

Although these courses weren’t necessary to become an artist, they really helped me to develop my skills and also allowed me to thrive in an environment full of other young creatives.

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I can’t imagine doing anything else and when it came to dropping out of school and figuring out what I wanted to do, art was always the obvious choice.

No matter how difficult it would be, I wanted and will still make it.

Agriculture

Irish agriculture plays a big part in my work. Many of my friends work on farms and it wasn’t until I was helping my friend Lucy on her family’s farm that I realized how much work there is in farming.

I prefer to look at the animals from a distance. Also, I’ve recently moved to a more rural area and it’s amazing to be able to look out my window and see cows and sheep in the fields and see the various tractors driving up and down the lane.

Honestly, you can’t say how long a picture can last.

Some may only take a few hours if I get into a groove and do it all in one session, or some larger paintings may take weeks and take several different sessions.

However, I’ve found that the more experienced I get, the quicker I can finish a painting.

I love that moment when I finally finish a painting and I can really step back and admire all the hours of work that went into it.

I also love sharing my pictures online to see what others think.

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Studio

My most common farm themed paintings would be tractors.

Many people commission me to paint their own tractor, which I paint from a photo they provide.

I also paint a lot of farm animals and pets! Many people, myself included, have a genuine bond with their pets and it is a beautiful keepsake to have a painting of them that will last forever.

I have my own studio that I work in. In the summer of 2021 I had an amazing opportunity to build my own workspace and it was extremely beneficial to my life as an artist.

I used to work from my bedroom at home, which was an absolute nightmare.

In the end, color came to almost everything I owned and I was slowly outgrowing my small desk in the corner of my bedroom, so I was overjoyed when I got the opportunity to have my own workspace.

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work

There are various ways to acquire my work. I have my own website that I have started within the last 6 months or I have an esty store where I am about 10 sales away from 1000 sales which would be a huge accomplishment for me.

I sell original paintings along with other products such as keychains, mugs and placemats.

Anyone based in County Antrim can find me at many local craft fairs and shows.

For anyone interested in commissioning a painting from me there are several ways to get in touch including social media such as: Instagram and Facebookor by email to amystewartart288@gmail.com.

You can also check – https://amystewartart.myshopify.com/ – and – https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/amyxstewart?ref=shop_sugg

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target group and prices

Custom paintings range from £25 upwards. I try to keep my prices as low and affordable as possible as I want art to be accessible to everyone.

Also, I think my target audience is anyone interested in farming.

I want to make art more accessible to everyone and contribute to merging the art world with agriculture.

Thanks to the power of social media, I can present my work to a large number of people.

Because of this, I’ve also been hired by people around the work including the US and Australia.

It’s incredible to imagine paintings hanging on a wall all the way in Australia.

My business has really picked up speed during the pandemic. This meant that like many others, I had an absurd amount of free time due to the lockdown.

During the first lockdown I started mine Facebook Page and completed orders for friends, which eventually became what my business is today.

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success

I think to be a successful artist you have to be really passionate about art.

Some days it can be difficult to motivate yourself to complete a painting and in the beginning it was definitely difficult to get my work out there which was daunting but my love of art and painting encouraged me to keep going.

Aside from just painting, you need to have a certain level of skill in many other areas such as marketing and IT.

It can be a tough industry; You have to move your work and what you do forward so that people will listen to your story and notice your work.

However, I’ve grown up using social media for most of my life, so it was easy for me to present my work through this method.

However, I sympathize with those who find it difficult to work with social media. Also, it can be very time consuming.

I would love to create art full time as I have just finished my studies and am still working part time while making art.

If I could turn back the clock, I don’t think I would do anything differently. My business has grown as much as I have and it’s amazing looking back at where I started a few years ago.

I am so grateful for how much my business has grown so far and I honestly cannot thank everyone enough who has purchased or commissioned a painting from me in the past.

Also, I am very excited about the future and to see what other projects will come my way.

In the future, I’m also looking forward to getting out and meeting other artists in the community.”

To share your story, email – catherina@thatsfarming.com

Read more articles by Catherine Cunnane

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