LDC and The Prince’s Trust: Supporting young artists
22 Sep 2023
22 Sep 2023
LDC recently commissioned and bought the work of a number of young artists supported by The Prince’s Trust, as part of our national partnership with the charity, to display across our national network of offices. One such talent is Iona Rowland whose artwork hangs in our Nottingham office.
Here, we caught up with Iona on her journey with The Prince’s Trust and inspiration for the artwork.
1. How did you find out about The Prince’s Trust?
A friend of mine who was setting up a yoga business had just started the Enterprise Programme at The Prince’s Trust – it had really helped her distill her ideas and translate them into a realistic business plan. I also had some big ideas but no real sense of direction, or long-term strategy – the Enterprise Programme helped me carve this out and harness my creativity in a way that would ultimately drive income.
2. Tell us about your journey from before you started the Enterprise Programme up until now?
I would say every job I had prior to beginning the Enterprise Programme informed my work and helped to shape my business plan. After leaving University, I worked as a Gallery Assistant at the National Gallery, I’d often find myself alone in rooms with huge renaissance paintings and would come up with stories about what was going on in the artworks. It was at this time I knew I wanted my own work to be rooted in narrative, and where possible to be realised at a momentous scale.
Later on I worked in the membership team at the National Portrait Gallery during David Bailey’s ‘Stardust’ exhibition. I found the subjects of Bailey’s work fascinating and became really excited at the prospect of depicting iconic figures from contemporary popular culture. Fast forward eight years to my ‘Hendrix in London’ mural and you can see the influence of the David Bailey exhibition.
I then went on to work in Art PR – this gave me a real insight into the contemporary art landscape and helped me to establish where I wanted to position myself within this.
The Enterprise Programme gave me an opportunity to consolidate all of these experiences and turn them into something tangible.
3. What support have you received and what has been your highlight?
It was a catalyst in the development of my business – it forced me to take a deep dive into market research, operations and logistics, pricing strategy and financial forecasts. The support I’ve received from The Prince’s Trust has been wide-ranging but I would say it’s the relationship with my mentor, Ben Boswell, which has been the most valuable and rewarding. Ben is from the tech world so our skills and experience are so different but that’s what’s worked so well – we’ve learned a lot from each other. I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of cross-industry knowledge exchange.
4. How does it feel to have your artwork on display in LDC’s Nottingham office?
I feel incredibly proud! I grew up in Derby so the East Midlands is very close to my heart. When I was 15 I did a work experience placement at Paul Smith in Nottingham – I was working in the print design department and can vividly remember the library in the studio which contained books on just about anything you can imagine. I remember one book by Paul Smith called ‘You can find inspiration in everything – (and if you can’t, look again)’ – this really stuck with me and I’ve carried this ethos into every project I’ve worked on. Paul Smith, in my view, is such a Nottingham icon so I wanted to pay homage to him in my second painting for LDC.
5. What would you say to someone thinking of starting their own business?
It’s definitely a marathon, not a sprint but it’s amazing because at every juncture you learn something new. You might have to re-route a few times but that’s what’s so exciting!
Find out more about LDC’s extended partnership with The Prince’s Trust here. We’re excited to back the ambitions of young people like Iona for many years to come.