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Gillian Holding (Fine Art, 2009)

Gillian Holding (Fine Art, 2009)

After having her fourth child Gillian decided not to return to her successful career as a lawyer and instead pursued her passion for art.

Whilst working as a lawyer Gillian had been commissioned by several people to paint portraits which she continued to do for a few years before deciding to immerse herself in the art world. She said: I wanted to find out what sort of artist I was, and my background had meant I was quite goal orientated and geared to meeting other people's expectations, but that worked against me; as an artist I needed to be risk taking, playing around and exploring.

When asked why she chose the course she said: I am quite academic so it was the mix of practical and theory that Leeds Met offered that really appealed. It was really tough though, far harder than my law degree; you had to be self-motivated, confront "failure" constantly and identify and explore your own areas of interest, which, as an artist are all crucial.  The experience really helped me with my confidence in overcoming setbacks; which again, as an artist is crucial.

As soon as she graduated Gillian got a studio away from her home, which was something really important to her as it helped her feel more disciplined, like she was going to work and it also reminded the family that her art was more than a hobby. She is still in touch with her lecturers and classmates, and attends the End of Year show each summer. She is also working with two former classmates on an on-going collaboration art project.

Due to family commitments Gillian felt she wasn't always able to attend exhibition openings and events so instead turned to social media as a way of helping keep in touch with the art world. It was from her time spent online that opportunities began to emerge. “It's from my activity on social media that's really helped me get involved in the wider art world outside Leeds, and from these Debut Contemporary, a gallery in London got in touch and are now showing my work.

For an up-to-date list of her exhibitions and information about Gillian please see her website: