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Clopton: Artist’s quirky cows to represent British beef exports

12:57 17 October 2013

Sophie Elinor Martin of Clopton with her drawing of British Cows for Martin Blackwell of Direct Meats that will be used as part of a fine dining campaign in Hong Kong

Sophie Elinor Martin of Clopton with her drawing of British Cows for Martin Blackwell of Direct Meats that will be used as part of a fine dining campaign in Hong Kong

An up-and-coming young Suffolk artist was left “stunned and delighted” after her quirky and expressive animal paintings were chosen to represent high quality British beef for export.

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Sophie Elinor Martin, of Clopton, near Woodbridge, has been commissioned by local butchers to paint six breeds of cattle as the face of their new luxury meat business, serving a rapidly emerging new market.

The 26-year-old former Sufolk College student says she has been “overwhelmed” by the speed at which her career took off – less than a year after she devoted her talents to it full time.

“I still find it funny that I can actually class myself as an artist because it’s happened so quickly,” she said. “I’d dabbled in commissions before but since I started full time it’s gone through the roof.”

Sophie had been working in marketing after graduating in fine art from Norwich University of the Arts and only decided to follow her creative pursuits professionally last November.

Following an exhibition at The Crown Hotel in Framlingham, demand for her character-filled animal portraits rocketed.

Her latest commission came about when Mark Hayward of Dingley Dell Pork, Woodbridge, for whom Sophie had previously worked in a marketing capacity, put her in touch with two meat industry acquaintances who were seeking an artist for a new export venture.

Martin Blackwell of Direct Meats in Dedham and Kevin Burrows of the Eye-based Lamberts Abattoir required images of the six breeds of cattle they were planning to export to satisfy the lucrative new trade in high quality beef and were taken with Sophie’s work.

“She has a real eye for bringing out the quirky features and the unique aspects of the breeds we are exporting,” said Mr Blackwell.

Sophie says she has always been drawn towards animal art as a girl who grew up on a farm and his lived most her life in rural Suffolk. “I always used to have a little chat with them when I walked past them and I thought they were very comical creatures which you could relate with – they have so much character,” she said.

Sophie begins a new exhibition at Snape Maltings, near Aldeburgh, on Monday, which runs for a week.

Her latest work is said to have taken an “experimental new direction” following recent travels in India. “It’s great to try something completely new,” she said.

Her webstite www.semartspace.com is due to launch next week.

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