A talented lady from Leicester has recently traded in her swimming goggles for paintbrushes, in order to pursue her lifelong passion for creating art, which she now ships across the world.
Before beginning a career in fine art, Danielle Tomlinson competed internationally and nationally for British swimming, making the finals at Olympic, commonwealths and world trials.
However, during the lockdown, she decided to indulge her passion for painting – creating huge pieces of impressive animal art, which have attracted admirers from across the world.
She now has over 12,000 followers on Instagram, and ships large scale artwork to countries including Australia and America.
“I started swimming lessons when I was four – had a bit of a knack for it, but I also had a bit of a knack for art as well. But it was always the art which took a bit of a back seat to the swimming”, she told the Leicester Times.
“But I went to university and that’s where I kind of fell out of love with swimming. So I started doing little pet portraits as a bit of a side hustle, and my family said why don’t you try and do it full time?
“I invested in a marketing course and within two months, I was making a full time salary”, she revealed. “I moved on from the little pet portraits quite quickly onto large scale artworks, and that’s when it really started picking up.
“I’ve only just turned 24 and I’m able to buy a house through this. It’s just amazing the way things have snowballed.”
Danielle runs all aspects of her art business from her garden studio, in the Danes Hill area of Leicester.
Although she has been approached by eight different galleries, she has decided to keep control of her own marketing and representation, running her business solely through the power of social media.
“You literally have the world at your fingertips”, she said.
She sites the Covid-19 pandemic as one of the things which really helped her business to catapult to the level of success, which it is currently enjoying.
“Covid really helped me. It sounds awful, everyone had a really bad time, but from a business point of view, everyone was at home, everyone had spare cash and everyone was on their phones, so it just catapulted me even further”, she said.
“Also my family have been ridiculously supportive. During Covid, my Dad wasn’t at work so he built me a studio in the back garden where I’ve been able to paint.
“Even when I wanted to leave swimming, they didn’t pressure me to carry on or anything like that. They said ‘do what makes you happy’, and when you’re happy you do well. That’s my philosophy, and I’m a big advocate of that”, she added.
“A lot of people don’t think being an artist is a tangible career, but if you treat it as a business and you market yourself right, there’s no reason why you can’t do something you love”.
Her advice for those looking to turn their passion into a career, is just to go for it, and have confidence in yourself and your work.
“The hardest part of it is just literally posting your work and getting it out there”, she said.
“People are scared of being judged, and with social media you do get some comments. However, I’m just kind of numb to it now”, she added.
“I’m enjoying what I’m doing, and I’ve always put the work in, been really focussed and it’s paying off at the minute and I’m really grateful”.
To find out more about Danielle’s work, visit: https://www.danielletomlinsonart.com/
By Louise Steel