From Olympian to global artist

World class swimmer Danielle Tomlinson tells of her great return to painting

Danielle Tomlinson (b. 1998) is a British contemporary wildlife artist.

Before beginning a full-time career in fine art, Tomlinson competed both nationally and internationally for the British swim team, making the finals at many of the world’s most high profile and prestigious competitions: the Olympic Games, the Commonwealths, and the World Trials.

Growing up, Danielle enjoyed sport and embarked on a swimming career whilst studying sports science at Loughborough University.  However, during the Covid 19 lockdown, graduating in the middle of a global pandemic, job opportunities were sparse so, Tomlinson decided to indulge her passion for painting – which had remained latent since childhood due to her sporting success – creating huge pieces of striking animal art, which have attracted admirers from across the world.

In a very short space of time this journey has led to her work being flown to collectors all over the world, including the USA, Australia, France, Canada, and many countries throughout Europe. This transition from competitive swimmer to successful full-time artist Tomlinson says could be down to the determination and drive which comes with competitive sports.

“I’m a pretty determined person. Before my artistic career, I studied sports science and swam at a highly competitive level qualifying and making women’s finals for Olympic, Commonwealth and World Trials. Safe to say, I’m not stopping this anytime soon until I’ve achieved my dreams!

The artist invested in a marketing course and within two months, she was making a full-time salary she revealed.You literally have the world at your fingertips”, she said… Although Tomlinson has been approached by eight different galleries, she has decided to keep control of her own marketing and representation, running her business solely through the power of social media.

Danielle during her competing days

“Being completely self-taught with the marketing course really helped me find my specific audience without the limitations of an artistic education. I was completely new to the art world. Knowing ‘why’ you create your work and then once you sell to a few people, you can start connecting dots with those who enjoy your work…”

“I moved on from the little pet portraits quite quickly onto large scale artworks, and that’s when it really started picking up. I’ve only just turned 25 and I’m able to buy a house through this. It’s just amazing the way things have snowballed.”

“I take a modern, urban approach to some very traditional subjects. Life is fun and full of excitement. I want all my paintings to stop people in their tracks and take a moment away from their screens to appreciate the wonderful world that surrounds us.” Danielle Tomlinson

Passionate about wildlife, Tomlinson believes that as a society we have lost touch with the natural world. This stems from her love for her childhood pets, which developed with experience as she travelled and discovered more exotic species.

“I want my art to bring attention to our wildlife.” DT

Tomlinson’s intuitive paintings feature layered washes and a variety of dynamic brush strokes, creating movement, energy and life through bold acrylic and oil-based pigments. Danielle pairs a modern and contemporary approach to reflect her city upbringing into some very stereotypically traditional subjects.

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