Worcester business relationship manager turns her art into income during lockdown

by contributing writer Michael Whitefoot
Vivid Dreams

Creating bold, original artworks to brighten up her home during lockdown has led an artistic Worcester resident to establish an exciting new career path.

Just six weeks ago, Barbourne-based Zoe Francis, a Business Relationship Manager for SW&A Accountants, had the idea of using colourful inks to create a series of eye-catching, original paintings to liven up her walls. Within an hour of posting her work onto her personal Facebook page she had sold her first piece – and hasn’t looked back.

“It happened by chance!” says Zoe. “I wanted some abstract art for my newly renovated home and decided to have a go at creating it myself. Selling my first painting so quickly was incredibly exciting and the response since then has been phenomenal.”

Trading as Zoe Francis Art, she has already sold ten original artworks and attracted several commissions. Her paintings will be available to buy from Fred’s Coffee Shop in The Tything, Worcester from 12 April. The works are also showcased on Worcester Virtual High Street, the free, ‘shop local’ Facebook group that enables shoppers to discover hundreds of independent Worcestershire retailers, crafters, entrepreneurs and service providers.

“It’s been a big achievement in a short space of time,” adds Zoe. “Although I’ve always been arty, until recently my only experience was getting an A in my art GCSE! Now I paint completely one-off creations that enhance people’s homes, which feels really special.”

Zoe FrancisZoe has lived in Worcester for more than 20 years and loves the City. “My inspiration comes from the changing colours in nature and the beautiful scenery in and around Worcestershire. By using inks I can create the rich colours and forms that remind me of our local countryside.”

Adding to her original abstract designs, which include large-scale pieces on acrylic board, Zoe soon plans to add prints and other products using her art to the range. Amongst her commissions, she has even been asked to include a much-loved pooch’s ashes into one of her paintings. “The customer wanted something beautiful to represent their life together. Of course, I said yes.”

Zoe has also had one of her pieces accepted for the prestigious Worcester City Art Trail. “The Trail is part of the NHS ‘Now We’re Talking for Healthy Minds’ campaign,” she explains. “It will be held in Worcester during May 2021 and will feature a whole host of work from local artists.”

Worcester Virtual High Street is the fast-growing  Facebook group bringing shoppers, local independent businesses and retailers together to boost local trade, after what has been one of the most challenging commercial years in modern memory.

Set up in 2021 by Worcestershire businessman and photographer Michael Whitefoot, the group is free to join and allows independent shops, service providers, tradespeople, crafters, e-sellers and entrepreneurs from across the County to promote their wares and services to customers free of charge. Shoppers in turn have the chance to discover hundreds of exciting products, service providers, special offers and one-off buys at the click of a mouse. The group already has around 500 members and is attracting scores of new providers and shoppers every day.