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Meet the Rejects! Rejection is something that every professional artist will face in their lifetime—most likely a multitude of times. There is no way around it. Frankly, rejection hurts. But, at Art Friend we know it is of the essence not to crumble in the face of rejection. Instead, we’re embracing it in order for a new gen of rejects to glow, grow and thrive. We asked them to share a little bit about themselves, their happiest art moment and what makes their creative juice flowing. 

Find more about the exhibition here


Abstract Artist


With a background of corporate graphics, Mark Yates was driven by a need to get back to his creative past, crafting something more raw and tangible. Mark’s work is concept driven ideas using both digital and manual techniques. Hunting for the ‘what does this do?, what would this look like?’ through the multiple of materials is use. 

Still learning and experimental in his action, Mark is in search of new innovative ways of presenting his work. The end result bringing that touch of elation.

Fun fact – happy moment:  'Great end to the last football season. My team made back to the Prem after too many years in the lower leagues. It's made my year so far! C'MON YOU HATTERS!!!'


Interdisciplinary artist


Nicole Rose creates emotive based abstract paintings of the landscapes. Blending layers of oil, the finished paintings take on an ethereal quality, residing in a space between reality and daydream. Nicole also produces digital prints in response to the paintings, working in Photoshop reimagining the originals, making a fresh response to the landscape in their own right.

Proudest moment: ‘Being shortlisted for the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair Prize in 2021 and speaking about my art and process to a wide and responsive audience was a proud moment for me and spending time in my studio creating art, without any constraints or boundaries, that brings other people joy, makes me happy.’

Check out Nicole's other piece here


Textile Artist


Saroj Patel’s practice explores the contrasting and sometimes conflicting identities of a British Indian artist. Saroj takes inspiration from ritualistic practices, Hindu mythology and Indian astrology, and explore themes of gender, race, identity and migration. She work with a range of materials rooted in Indian traditions as well as found items. Working intuitively, texture and colour is woven throughout her sculptures with delicate folds of fabric and elaborate beadwork. 

Proudest moment: ‘One of the most meaningful experiences I’ve had as an artist is completely an MFA at Central Saint Martins. It was really challenging and pushed my ideas and processes in ways I never would have imagined. I think art can bring an experience of joy and happiness and for me it’s through vivid and vibrant colours.’ 


Digital Collage Artist


Steve Mitchell primarily works digitally as a collage artist, building up complex compositions from hundreds of found elements calling the style Neo-Victorian Maximalism. Steve loves the process of sourcing old books and illustrations, taking tiny elements of these, building something new and then effecting the finished result through the physical process of screen printing.

Fun fact: ‘My day job is graphic design for live music campaigns, the main one currently being Rick Astley’s 2024 UK tour.’


Mixed Media Artist


Maureen Grayson’s work is a journey through memories, and often dreams, using mixed media. Dramatic colours and a wild application of mark-making conjure up fantasy and mystical effects intertwined with themes of the darker side of nature. Maureen’s process is one of multi-layering collage and acrylics on a variety of substrates.

Proudest moment: ‘My proudest moment as an artist was the decision to embark on the Creative Visionary Programme (CVP) in 2021. This was to totally reinvent both my art, and my life beyond all expectations.’


Photographer, Screen Printer


Sanne’s art emphasises the beauty of vulnerability which is being shown in an atmospheric and often voyeuristic way. When Sanne photographs, she operates like a fly on the wall, carefully choosing the right moment to capture. 

Proudest moment: ‘My proudest moment as an artist was seeing my Swan Lake picture hanging in Somerset House during the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition.’ 




Shumaiya Khan is a painter, writer and creative. Although she has always painted, she is self-taught and her work has an element of experimentation with textures and motion within an abstract framework built to engage emotion within her audience. Shumaiya produces contemporary abstract expressionist pieces with the use of acrylic, charcoal, chalk and poetry across canvas and paper. 

What makes you happy about art: ‘The infinite ways of how artists express ideas that are unique to them.’

Check out  Shumaiya's other piece here

REJECTS 27/07 - 03/08 

Theres nothing better than seeing artwork in the flesh so pop along to see the show! Open until 3rd August 2023.

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