I’ve recently discovered an extremely talented artist. Her paintings completely captivate me.
I’ve been lucky enough to catch up with the British artist Laura Jane of Tia Lilly Art. Laura was kind enough to allow me to interview her so I can share with you the person behind the paintings.
Laura, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m 30 years old with an amazing, supportive fiancé and a beautiful thoughtful daughter aged 3 1/2. Since the age of around 12, I had an accident where I broke my leg which then, in turn, slipped my hip out slightly and triggered EDS off. Ever since then my pain has just increased more and more only to be diagnosed just 4 Years ago with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Type 3- also known as EDS or HMS.
How did you get into art? Was it something you’ve always had a passion for?
As a child, I watched my mum run her own fashion business selling ball gowns. Her business was named after me. My dad was a painter and decorator.
I fell in love with art from a very young age. It was my favourite subject at school and I achieved an A in my GCSE exams. I continued on with my A levels in which I studied art, textiles, English and fashion, receiving A’s again. So from an early age it was pretty inevitable I’d end up doing something creative!
So you became an artist straight out of school?
I spent four years studying fashion design. During my degree, I worked for two days a week in London at a top designer company. I was in my element!!! My employers were very flexible with me and understood when I couldn’t do things or even turn up to work due to my pain/EDS. In my last year of fashion, through pure grit and determination, oh, and with ridiculous amounts of medication and working from home most of the time! I managed to make a full collection. I was chosen to show my designs on the catwalk at London Fashion Week!! It was then that I came back to Preston to finish my degree where I received a 2:1 Ba Hons in Fashion Design.
Wow! How did you work in fashion for?
With my EDS, it means whatever I do, whether sitting, standing, moving laying down, walking or even just being, I am in a tremendous amount of pain. Not just aches, but agony. My dreams of owning a shop with my own designs in were gone. I then set up an online business, thinking I could manage to do that. I sold half handmade one-off designs and vintage clothing. Sadly, it too was too much for me to physically do so I also had to give this up.
That must have been a really difficult decision. What did you do from there?
When I was 27, I gave birth to my little girl. TiaLilly is such a blessing. I was told by numerous rheumatologists that I shouldn’t be having children because I every day is so hard just on my own. They were right. It has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I struggle day in, day out, but it’s the best job in the entire world. I wouldn’t change it for anything, despite what I go through.
Although motherhood is completely fulfilling, I wanted something for ME. With this in mind, just after Christmas 2016, I decided to just do some sketching as art therapy for myself. I needed something to help my anxiety and to keep my head sane!! When I showed my partner, he was impressed so encouraged me to show people what I’d drawn. To my amazement, people complimented my work and I then started being commissioned to create personalised pieces of art for people!! It’s amazing and a little crazy that people are loving what I do!
Was this the beginning of TiaLilly Art?
Yes. I set up art pages on social media to gauge if my hobby could one day become something more! I pray it will, as my art is being more and more sought after. Having EDS is like having really bad Flu 24/7. Everything hurts but dislocates too and with added fatigue and a lot more symptoms added in. Being able to express my pain and experiences through my art is amazing, and of course, I can do it in my own time when my body allows me too! It gives me purpose and makes me so, so happy when I’m in my own little creative bubble! I’ve spent too long pretending I’m okay all the time. Now, I am just being honest with people about my condition and my reality and turning it into a something positive through art. If through the process it raises awareness for EDS and helps other people with chronic illnesses to relate to one another on my page then that’s brilliant!! I hope people take the time to follow me on social media and on my Etsy shop and pop over for a chat!
Laura, thank you so much for talking to me and allowing me to share your story.
Please catch up with Laura in the places mentioned below.
“Tia Lilly Art. Creating Art for you from me, from a painful body but a happy soul!”
All my contact details;