A North Tyneside artist has turned redundancy into a thriving new business following help from the North Tyneside Business Factory and the New Enterprise Allowance programme, after being selected from over 500 artists to be displayed at the BALTIC as part of a unique new exhibit.
Robert Myers (53), from North Shields has been a regular face at Tynemouth market for over two years where his oil-based paintings of North East cityscapes have earned a strong following in recent years.
Now, thanks to a new opportunity as part of the BALTIC Open Submission, Robert will feature in an exhibition of specially selected local artists after submitting work alongside 540 applicants for a spot on the gallery floor. The open-call application took place in the summer of 2020 whilst closed during lockdown and is set to open on the 6th January and run until June of next year, with 150 artists included.
Robert Myers comments: “I submitted my work with absolutely no expectations of featuring in such a prestigious exhibition but I am thrilled to have been chosen By the BALTIC alongside so many of my peers. It really is a dream come true for me and a reminder that following my dreams to become a full time artist was absolutely worth it.”
BALTIC Open Submission celebrates the creativity right here in the North East. The exhibition presents works by long-term artists as well as those just beginning and those who have studied fine art, to self-taught creatives who have only ever made work in their private homes. The exhibition will feature art to view and purchase, with Robert’s unique take on North East cityscapes a popular choice for enthusiasts.
Robert Myers continues: “I previously used my creative and artistic skills in more commercial ways, working as a 3D visualiser for the building and construction sector. Painting actually remained just a hobby for decades before a trip to New York completely transformed my future.
“New York lit a creative fire in my mind and my paintbrush. I was suddenly bringing this more expressive style of urban art into the North East cityscapes I was creating. It was around this time that I was made redundant and the timing seemed right to finally follow my passion into the art world full time and create a more expansive portfolio of work which seemed to be resonating with people.”
Robert approached Nicky Burke, business advisor with TEDCO Business Support and the North Tyneside Business Factory to look at ways in which to set-up as a self-employed artist and develop the Robert Myers name and brand to ensure his art could be a gateway into earning a more regular income.
Supported by ERDF, The Business Factory is delivered by TEDCO Business Support on behalf of North Tyneside Council to help new enterprises access the help and guidance they need to finance and set up a new venture in the borough.
Robert continues: “Nicky was brilliant and advised I join the New Enterprise Allowance scheme which helps people who are unemployed to develop their skills and business ideas to become self-employed. She has always been on hand to help with any additional business support I have needed along the way.
“I sell direct and through the NE Art Collective in Eldon Gardens but also have a regular stall at Tynemouth market to display my work and talk to potential customers. The chance to display my work at BALTIC is the culmination of a life-long dream to make art a full-time career.”
TEDCO Business Support delivers the New Enterprise Allowance scheme to individuals looking to explore options in self-employment and provides help to eligible candidates aged 18 and over.
Nicky Burke, TEDCO and Business Factory advisor comments: “I am so delighted for Robert. He has built up an excellent reputation in the past few years through his stall at Tynemouth market and to be asked to exhibit at the BALTIC is such an honour. I anticipate Robert will enjoy even greater success in 2021 as more people get to witness his talent and it just proves what can happen when you follow your passion into self-employment.”
For further information on the NEA scheme or the North Tyneside Business Factory, please visit www.tedco.org.