Lloyd Coenen Art: Meet the Leeds artist who quit accounting job during pandemic to launch thriving worldwide business
A Leeds artist who quit his accounting job to launch his own business is spreading a message of hope into homes across the world.
Lloyd Coenen spent 13 years working behind a desk, feeling unfilled and struggling with his mental health.
He began to showcase his artwork in 2017 and two years later, just two days before the first lockdown, Lloyd quit his job and went full-time as an artist.
From his studio in Armley, Lloyd creates bold designs across a range of art forms - from acrylic paint prints to digital illustration, sculpture and street art.
The 32-year-old told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "I quit my job because I was miserable and depressed - and anxious that I didn’t have a direction that was fulfilling.
"I just took the plunge.”
When his business was still in its infancy, Lloyd took the bold decision to give away prints for free during the pandemic - hoping to brighten up homes and get his artwork seen by more people.
Thousands of people snapped up his offer during lockdowns from as far away as Australia, Brazil and the US.
“My work is bold and colourful, representing positivity and progression," Lloyd said.
“My inspiration comes from the colour palettes I see around me, the blues of the sea, the reds and greens of space and the different planets.
“I use different mediums and styles of artwork, as I wanted to get to a place where there were no barriers to my creativity.
“Rather than just being a landscape painter, I wanted the option to do as much as I could.”
Lloyd has now sold more than 70,000 prints and original pieces, something he's achieved independently with no representation from galleries or major organisations.
He uses social media to spread the word about his business and despite the challenges the pandemic presented, it took off.
Lloyd added: "A lot of artists work for years and years without anyone giving them a break, but I wanted to find a way to get my art to as many people as possible.
"The free prints meant more people were seeing my art and talking about it.
“But at the same time, I thought the messages and the meanings behind the art would help others and spread positivity.
“The response has been amazing, I've had more than 1,500 five star reviews from people who have my work in their homes.
"I’ve had stories from mothers who said it inspired their children to create artwork; it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done."
Lloyd's abstract prints are named after the message they carry, from 'calmness' and 'patience' to 'dark uncertainty'.
Art has an important role in representing the feelings the world is carrying through the pandemic, Lloyd said, and he wants to inspire more people to pick up a paintbrush.
“I love the freedom it gives me to be a child again," he added.
"When we get to a certain age, we get stuck in the corporate system and forget that, as children, everything was creative.
"Getting back to that has helped my mental health, which is why I want to push art to everyone else and inspire creativity in other people.”
Find out more about Lloyd's free print offer at www.lloydsartprints.com.
Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.