THE WILD WEST ART STORE
This is a true story. Some characters names may have been changed to protect the innocent.
Many of you may know our names; you may even know that we sell art prints but not many of you know the hows and whys of how this came to be.
My name is Toula and I am a photographer. I am married to James and he is a graphic designer/ illustrator/ digital artist. Together we run The Wild West Art Store on Etsy. However, it wasn’t always like this.
In the beginning, I was a PR. I started helping on campaigns for London clubs when I was 13 during school holidays, after school and at weekends. At 15, I co-wrote a regular gossip column for Gay News with my best friend Jane Goldman.
Then came the Bros years. I was their personal manager and stylist and based the Bros ‘look’ on a picture of a 10 year old boy that I saw in a Next catalogue, that I picked up on the way to Cuts in Soho, where they had their long golden locks shorn into shape.
By the age of 19, I had set up my own entertainments PR firm (after working on campaigns for George Michael and various other big 80s names) and was the youngest principal of any PR firm world-wide, according to The Guinness Book of Records. We looked after Shirley Bassey, Eric Clapton, 5-Star, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe (formerly Yes)…and a number of big UK charities.
Through circumstance, I moved from PR into TV and was part of the GMTV start-up, built a hospital in Romania in 54 hours for Challenge Anneka and eventually found myself working on The Golden Globe Awards, American Music Awards, People’s Choice Awards and various other crazy exciting entertainment shows in Hollywood, where I would look after the biggest names in the world.
In between, I set up the UK’s first and best celebrity gifting company The Sultans of Swag™ (gifting celebs at events such as the BRITs, Royal Variety, Comedy Awards and so on) and married James. The 2008 recession hit and it was time for us to move on to pastures new.
Those pastures were based in Studio City in LA. We were there when the call came on December 4th, 2014, that my Mother’s husband had died and within less than 30 minutes we had booked return flights home. My beautiful Mum has dementia and Alzheimer’s and needed us here so we didn’t hesitate.
Life hasn’t been easy. When you move, people also move – on. When you apply for jobs where old colleagues are now management and your CV possibly looks ‘intimidating’ (as mentioned to me), you know it’s time to really search your soul to find your next path.
For us, finding the path was easy – it was all lit up with sparkly fairy-lights and neon arrows pointing the way (you may have seen my photographs of them). In other words, our hearts chose the path for us.
Art is how your heart sees things, right? Well, our hearts wanted to share some of what we have seen with you and hope that your hearts respond. It’s early days but things are falling into place and for me that’s a big sign that the Universe is on our side and the time is now.
All of my photographs have been taken on an ancient Nikon – it’s my pride and joy. It’s the camera that took the pictures that Saatchi curated into collections and made me into a Saatchi Recognised Artist.
We can customise images (sizes, materials – canvas/ aluminium/fine art papers etc, colours, add text) for you and also have a massive library of images that are yet to be uploaded, so feel free to ask about anything you think we may have that you are looking for – for home, for your office, for student accommodation and for gifts!