It’s the story that not even Sophie Tea expected to happen, let alone so rapidly.
But the 26-year-old managed to go from barely a cent to her name to creating a multimillion brand all through the power of social media.
The Manchester-born artist ditched traditional avenues of the industry to get her art commissioned and instead used her growing Instagram status to showcase her work.
In two days alone she can make a cool $27,000 with each of her colorful abstracts selling anywhere between $700 and $4,000.
“I have always been a non-conformist in whatever I have thrown myself into. I have never followed a step-by-step formula to becoming a famous artist. It was never on my agenda to do things a standard way,” Tea told news.com.au.
Tea shot to fame in 2017 – a year after she graduated with a business management degree at Birmingham Aston University – after photos of her posing at Coachella with glitter, gems and jewels stuck across her bare chest went viral.
At the time she was being commissioned to paint animals.
But after having started a now famous festival trend, it saw her social media following shoot through the roof – which does so every year around festival season – while also helping boost her now multimillion-dollar art business.
“The picture just blew up, it started Jenna’s (friend) body jewelry business and really helped my career,” Tea said.
Before her festival fame and huge burst of art-loving social media followers, Tea was a business grad who had a job lined up in her industry two months after finishing university in July 2016.
But a trip to India when she was 22 changed all that.
“Before I started adult life I wanted to let lose a bit and decided to head to India for a holiday.”
“I was running out of money at the time while on my trip and so I came across a hostel with loads of graffiti on it and asked if I could paint a mural over it in exchange for free accommodation.”
It was her method of payment for a long time.
Despite having not painted in six years, she managed to convince the hostel to allow her to draw a multi-colored cow, which is considered a scared animal in India.
“Honestly it was in that moment when I was like ‘wow’. I felt so happy and surprised by how good it was,” Tea said.
And it was also that moment she kickstarted her creative journey to the point of quitting her job, before it even started, to pursue a life of an artist.