Sophie Mahir – My Journey So Far.
Once an artist, always an artist – isn’t that’s what they say?
So in 2017 I officially re-launched my professional art career after an 9-year gap. During which time I ran a successful coaching business both online and off, helping start-ups to grow a sustainable business. After travelling and working around the world (fashionably called a Digital Nomad), I landed in Perth, Australia and am studying, and in my ‘spare time’ have set up a new part-time Art Business.
Using all my previous qualifications, skills and experience, I run a Meetup called Perth Arts | Business Development For All Artists. I have also launched my ‘Artists Marketing Academy’ – both of which help fellow artists and creatives to get great at their marketing, Social Media; and set up an Art Business doing what they love.
I’m painting again too – and have switched from acrylics to oils – look out for an exhibition coming up in early 2019.
Tobias School Of Art
Initially I did my training at an ‘alternative’ college called Tobias School Of Art, where I studied ‘colour’ intensely for 3 years. There I first explored the idea of a colour having it’s own identity, and how putting them together could change their shape, size and intensity. Ultimately I graduated with a Teachers Qualification to teach children in Waldorf Schools.
I went on to teach at the Brighton Steiner School for 8 years. Teaching painting, drawing, clay sculpture and history of art. Finally leaving to pursue a professional career as an artist myself.
When I left the security of a full-time job and registered as self-employed it was exciting. I could finally set my own goals, earn my own money and establish a real business.
I didn’t realise how difficult that would actually be, having absolutely no previous business experience. But I gradually got some help and discovered I loved the business-side of things too. So I went on to achieve my art goals until I reached a sort of ‘saturation point’. I felt under pressure to paint, and soon I was producing quantity over quality, and I knew it was time to stop and do something different.
As part of the business process as well as wanting to work more with the local community where I was based, I got some help to set up Newhaven Arts a local artists group, supporting the professional growth of artists and creatives.
I set up my very first Open House back in 2001. Called The House Of Colour I started out with a solo show, but soon realised it could work even better if I had other artists join me.
I then approached The Brighton Festival, who already had well established trails throughout Brighton, to see if we could join in. The answer was yes, so I set up and ran the Newhaven Artists Trail for the first few years. We soon had 10+ houses opening their doors and I worked with the local community groups and council to broaden the reach of art and artists in the area.
By 2007/8 I had decided to train as a business coach and help others to build professional businesses. I soon grew a healthy practice, took an office and also ran various training programmes.
Now I’ve come full-circle and have taken off my coaches hat to dive back fresh and excited into my art.