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Student stories: Enterprise grant success

The message dropped into my feed from the OCA… ‘We are offering an Enterprise Grant for level 2 and 3 students of £100, or £150 each for group applications.’ All you had to do was complete an application form with a simple proposal setting out why you wanted the grant.

This seemed peculiarly appropriate as I had just started my first Level 2 course and was itching to get out in the market place. The brief said you could apply for just about anything, and didn’t have to repay the grant. Working on a very tight budget here was my chance to buy some cheap canvases, houses paint and go wild in the studio (or more accurately the garden) and create something I thought would sell in the village.

My pitch was to buy six cheap canvases at £3.30 each and £80 worth of paint with the security that I could blow the lot without any pressure. So, I duly wrote my proposal and sent it in.

And waited.

Much to my surprise I was awarded a grant and a lovely covering email so set about ordering my materials.

Skyfall… Little Greene high gloss on 41 x 51 x 1.7 cm canvas.

Having had a great reaction to my action paintings on the village Facebook page I set out half a dozen pots of paint, some pure colour and some mixed, every implement I could think of from sticks to brushes to syringes and started playing. I treated this like a cross between a Jackson Pollock and a Frank Bowling.

When the canvas was nearly full of paint I further composed the canvas by tilting the paint this way and that, till it dripped over all the edges.

Then I posted my first test painting on the Village Facebook Page. It sold for £60 within hours. A week later I tried another and that went the next day for £60. This time I’d added water and tried some other techniques.

I also had two requests for large 1 x 1.5 metre versions in specific colours, I was just thinking about what to charge (£250 each for the first couple?) when the Covid restrictions struck.

Sadly, production has had to stop but the grant has moved me out of the studio and into the community and radically altered my prospects. I now know I can make paintings to sell… and that there is a market for commissions.

I’m busy making plans for a pop up gallery in my driveway (I’ll paint the house wall white) and use a couple of Spotlights I use for self taping my acting. I thought every Saturday? The village are all routing for me and I’m even posting occasional Projects from my course. 

It’s like suddenly having a whole new bunch of friends and supporters, and the confidence I can sell paintings… all from an Enterprise Grant.

Thank you OCA.


If you are a Level 2 (HE5) or 3 (HE6) OCA student interested in finding out more about our Enterprise grant, visit our website here.

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Posted by author: Paul Butterworth
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