We catch up with Mini-loving commission artist, Rebecca East.
We caught up with one of the most prominent artists on the scene...
Rebecca East, better known as Becky or Bex, as on her website (artbybex.co.uk) studied art for years before going on to perfect her own style and embarking on her passion - the Mini! She always had an enthusiasm for Minis, as she thinks they’re just so much fun and unique. And it has always been her dream to own one too. Anyway, it was her love of Minis that led to her to begin painting them, first as a hobby then as a business. Bex is now a commission artist, and she specialises in Mini art. Mini Magazine caught up with her to find out more...
So you’ve always been a Classic Mini fan — have you ever owned one?
Yes, who couldn’t love Minis? I want to own a Classic Mini too, but they’re out of my reach at the moment.
What’s your favourite Classic Mini model or version?
I love all Classic and New MINIs, but if I had a choice of a Classic, I think it would have to be the Mini Cooper S from the ’60s. The Mini we all know and love from the famous 1969 movie The Italian Job — that is my ideal set of wheels.
What are the benefits of creating an original, custom picture?
It is a real honour to capture a Classic Mini owner’s pride and joy within a bespoke painting! I encapsulate the character of the Mini within a background that holds personal memories for the owner. I use vivid acrylics for my commissioned paintings.
I also create mix media artwork called Painted Sketches. These individual art commissions combine a variety of paints, graphites and inks. I make them ‘ live’. These are artwork pieces that will pass from generation to generation.”
How does a Mini owner go about commissioning a unique piece of art?
Either via my website (www.artbybex.co.uk), by email to re[email protected]bybex.co.uk or via Twitter. Once we make contact, we chat through what they would like, and they send photos of their Mini and memorable background photos.
After discussing their requirements, I sketch up the car for the client to visualise before proceeding on to canvas. I create a variety of preliminary designs for my clients to see the potential artwork layout, created personally for them. My artwork is very personal and bespoke for each client. The canvas size is also suited to personal preference depending on where
they intend my artwork to be displayed.
Once the client is happy with the design, the hard work begins with handdrawing the design on to canvas. I always keep my clients informed of every stage of the journey as their personal artwork piece develops from outline to finished canvas painting.
You’re active on the Mini show scene, how many of your Classic Mini work comes from shows?
Everyone in the Mini family has seen me working with various clients at Mini events - who could miss my ‘Art by Bex’ fashion statement! I would say most of my commissions come from the shows.
What’s your favourite Mini show?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. Castle Coombe is a great one, and Mini In The Park is enjoyable. Silverstone Mini Track days are amazing too.
My passion for Minis drives me to paint a various array of Classic Minis. Minis that have been restored by a father and son duo, raced by a team of professional thrill seekers or highly prized and kept under lock and key. I love to see them all on display in all their glory, wherever the show may be.
You recently produced a picture for Mini rallying legend Paddy Hopkirk - how did this tie-up come about?
I have known Paddy back from my very first appearance on the Mini scene. So it was a real honour and privilege to be chosen to work with such a legend to create this very limited edition artwork to celebrate his most famous 1964 Monte Carlo Rally win. To have a piece personally approved and signed by Paddy was a dream come true. The centre painting in the Art Piece recreates the action of a mountain rally stage, with Paddy and his co driver Henry Liddon, powering around an alpine bend — typical of the Col de Turini.
Many clients ask me for something special to mark the anniversary of the Mini and the Monte, so this totally exclusive, limited edition artwork ticks all the boxes. I’ve only produced 60 prints, with only a few still available.
What’s been your favourite Classic Mini commission so far?
Every single Mini commission I create tells a story for the owner. But if you want me to pick just one, it’s probably the ‘Wrong Way Round World Tour’ Mini of Dave Thomas ‘Diddy Dave’, who is well known for his association with Mini Sport. It took an age to paint as he wanted so much detail.
Have you got plans to offer any more art services to Classic Mini owners?
Each artwork is personal and unique and I am very proud of every commission I create, so I can confidently say that I’m always looking to offer more to my clients. Any ideas? Let’s do it!
Can you give us any teasers as to what you’re working on now?
All I can say is watch this space Mini owners! I’m working with a couple of very famous Classic Mini drivers in 2019...
Artist at work.
Bex working alongside the legend himself, Paddy Hopkirk.
Every single one of Bex’s commissions is bespoke.
Personal backgrounds are key to the design.