Sophie Mahir – My Journey So Far.
Once an artist, always an artist – isn’t that’s what they say?
So in 2016 I officially re-launched my professional art career after an 8-year gap. During which time I ran a successful coaching business both online and off, helping start-ups to market themselves online and grow a sustainable business.
As an artist I offer abstract acrylic seascape paintings for your home. I’m also branching out into mixed media pieces as well as hand-made cards and prints.
This time around I have quickly set up an Etsy Shop, this website and a Social Media presence. I travel around the world whilst I am working creatively (fashionably called a Digital Nomad), and run my new Art Business from my laptop. Currently I’m hanging out in Australia and Asia.
But my life didn’t start out that way.
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.