Q&A with Appetite Audience Choice Award Winner Tina Rogers

Sophie filled with wonbder Insta

Earlier this year, our Appetite Supper Club shortlisted 21 pieces submitted to the Three Counties Open Art Exhibition, which we shared and asked YOU to vote for your favourite. This year’s Appetite Audience Choice Award winner was Tina Rogers with her piece, ‘Sophie -filled with wonder!’. We spoke to Tina about receiving the award and what inspired her to take up painting and drawing in her spare time.


How did you feel when you found out you won the Appetite Audience Choice Award?

Shocked at first. Over the last few months I’ve been encouraged by Disability Arts Cymru visual arts officer Alan Whitfield, to enter some opens, but never thought I was ‘good enough’. To discover I’d won a prize and not just any prize – The Audience Choice – I was so very happy. To think people actually took the time to vote for my painting was, and still is, incredible to me.


You said you started drawing a few years ago – what were your reasons starting?

I had to give up working 15 years ago through illness. Over that time I’ve read, watched films, tried to knit – you name it, I’ve tried it.  It was a natural progression really, looking for a non-stressful hobby that I could do easily. When Covid hit, knowing I couldn’t leave the house (and 19 months later I am still in the house) I started to draw more and paint every day.

My reason is a bit of a shocker  – Being disabled, living on benefits, losing  most of your friends because you can’t ‘do’ a lot, and then Covid, I was on the verge of not wanting to be here anymore. Art truly gave me a purpose. Bit grim but true.


Tina’s Appetite Audience Choice Award winning piece, ‘Sophie – filled with wonder!’


Before this, did you have any experience as an artist?

I loved art as a kid in school, and wanted to ‘do’ art, but being the lower working class daughter of a miner I felt there was no chance of that. I had to get a job in a factory.
I didn’t pick up a pencil for 38 years. But I always had this feeling that I wanted to paint, that I needed to use colour and wanted to learn.


Can you tell us a little more about your piece ‘Sophie – filled with wonder!’ and what was the inspiration for the piece?

I really do love painting people, and like to use ‘free’ found photos either given to me or ones I find online (Instagram is a great resource).  I’ve attempted a few portraits before but none have come together as well as Sophie. Sophie is the daughter of a friend, she is so full of beans, and so interested in everything. Her mum is young and has done a brilliant job as a lone parent in bringing this kid up. They went outside one night at the beginning of the year to see the stars, and Laura (Mum) took this photo of Sophie who’d just seen and recognised some of the planets. The expression on her face, that sheer look of wonder inspired me to bring her personality alive in paint. Sophie is so excited she won the competition with me!  She’s a great kid, a real star.


Tina enjoys painting people and has found inspiration using Instagram.


How did you hear about the Three Counties Open Art exhibition and what made you want to enter?

I read about the competition online and was able to enter because of Covid restrictions. Everything being online has enabled me to enter 3 opens.
Being disabled I literally cannot get to venues to drop work off, and another huge plus to the 3 counties is that it’s free to enter. Being on benefits means you can’t afford to enter competitions of there’s a fee. So well done 3 Counties, you have been inclusive to the disabled!


What would you say to someone who was thinking about taking up drawing or painting or being more creative?

I truly believe that if you enjoy drawing or painting or knitting or gluing or anything – take no notice of what anyone says or thinks about it. If you are happy, do it for yourself!
It’s made a real difference to my life, everyone needs a purpose, and some of us haven’t got a job, or are ill, or unable to work. Art is like meditation to me and I’m compelled to create now!


See the virtual Three Counties Open Art Exhibition 2021 here.

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