FAIRLAND – This artist has helped to produce great artwork with her students by teaching them that art is accessible.
Having moved to the community five years ago, Lillian Gray has successfully turned her passion for the arts into a business that gives back.
She has helped to produce great artwork with her students by teaching them that art is accessible.
Gray grew up in the Western Cape and studied arts at Stellenbosch and spent 10 years as a commercial artist prior to going on her own as a full-time artist. “The reality is that many artists are also excellent businessmen or women who identify a viable customer segment and actively create a demand for their products.”
She has produced and sold her art for profit since she was eight years old when she would sell arts and crafts to her neighbours and friends. Today, Gray has become an internationally recognised name in the art world and has exhibited in London, New York and Florence galleries. She sells her contemporary art from her online shop – a sales channel that is doing particularly well among South Africans.
She admitted that her success didn’t just happen, Gray has worked hard on her business, not only producing paintings but also teaching the accessibility of art to students at her art school in Fairland. “Art is my life, I started as a young child and just kept on working on bettering my skill. And I’m lucky to be doing what I love now, teaching and still painting.
“I think I’ve been drawing all my life. As a child and coming into my adult life, I realised that this is what I’m meant to be doing, I just needed to be able to see my talent helping others and that’s where my school idea started. Teaching people about art fulfils me.”
Affordability is in fact at the heart of her business strategy as she believes there is a huge untapped market among middle-class consumers, around the world, who want original pieces of art in their home or office, but don’t have the financial means to buy one. She said that she ‘paints for the people’.