Artist Kim Bland describes how she rediscovered her passion, her identity, and now her dream of becoming a self-employed artist throughout the struggle of lockdown.
She has discovered a new and inspiring medium in recycled materials and has entered (and won!) her first exhibition in 20 years (read more here) With the help of Enterprise Hub and business advisor Paul Rittenberg, she is now launching her own business doing what she loves. Read more about Kim’s Journey below:
Tell us about what led you to this point?
After leaving university in 2011 I found myself losing touch with my artwork and the passions I held in relation to building a career out of it. I worked full-time and got married. I made the difficult decision to come out of work to focus on the care of my children, my eldest was facing brain surgery at the same time and I took over as a carer for my own mother.
I found myself overwhelmed and with no outlet to focus or distract my feelings and emotions. I also struggled a lot with the situation of not working, feeling my identity had been stripped away.
What reignited your passion to become a self-employed artist?
It was really when COVID and lockdown began. With two young children to entertain I took to my strengths and started to get creative with them. This led me to look around for interesting materials to use and recycle.
We were in the middle of a house renovation when COVID first hit, and we had a lot of old or scrap pieces of OSB board lying around. Using the board as my canvas I started getting inspired by current events and what was unfolding around us; friends and family members mental and emotional wellbeing had been affected, and a very close friend who was directly impacted by the events that related to the Black Lives Matter movement.
I started painting for them in the hope I could bring a smile to their faces. The response I received was inspiring, and with the help and support of my friends and family, I decided to investigate if I could develop this into a potential business.
How has The Women’s Organisation helped you so far?
I didn’t know where to start or who to talk to. A local art group on Facebook pointed me in the direction of The Women’s Organisation who deliver The Enterprise Hub. I didn’t really have a business plan, just a concept, and some loose goals. I emailed and they put me in touch with my business advisor, Paul.
We started to have zoom meetings discussing my ideas. With Paul’s help, we broke down my plan into bite-sized chunks and discussed what areas I had knowledge of and what I needed support with. Paul showed me to their fantastic online seminars where I could choose from a wide range of topics that supported me and my business goals.
We would agree to catch up when it was convenient to go over what I achieved and which direction to take next. This helped to keep me focused and push forward to achieving my goals – one of which was to enter an exhibition this year.
What are your future plans?
Right now, I am focusing on seeing where my art business can take me. I want to start building my portfolio and work with other businesses, galleries and exhibitions. I am so proud of my achievements so far, and if it were not for Paul and the amazing team at The Women’s Organisation, I don’t think I would have gotten here as quickly, if at all.
A word from The Women’s org:
Kim is just about to register her business, so we look forward to supporting her business growth and goals in the future.
Her piece ‘Old Man’ made from recycled materials has just won the Kriterion prize 2022 (hosted by the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum in Birkenhead). Read more here.
Since then Kim has created several more commission pieces and has more exhibitions lined up later in the year. Watch this space!
To enquire about commissioning a piece of work from Kim, contact via instagram @kim_bland.art
If you’re looking to start or grow your business, get in touch with the Enterprise Hub now via email@example.com or call 0151 706 8113.