An artist who has only recently taken painting from a passion to a career has been named young artist of the year in a national competition.

Chloe Cox from Bridport came out on top in the SAA art awards and can add an award-winning painting to her repertoire, just a year after exploring her potential as an artist.

The winning painting was an oil on canvas piece of her grandad who visited her family in Bridport from the Caribbean.

Chloe added: “Out on the docks of West Bay, I captured a photo of him bundled up in several layers, shielding himself from the breeze, unused to the British weather. With Brexit being the most talked-of topic at the time, and the Windrush scandal re-surfacing, I decided to give this piece a double meaning and titled it ‘Windrush’.”

Chloe’s two passions have always been creative writing and fine art - having graduated with a BA in English literature and creative writing - but she had never taken art seriously as a career option until recently.

“While working in events management post university, my hobby for painting became something I looked forward to coming home to every day and which filled my weekends,” she said. “I therefore finally decided to take a gap year in August 2019 to explore my potential for freelance fine art.

“During that year I built up a portfolio of artwork, researched marketing strategies for the start up business and launched a website. I specialise in portraiture and oil paints. As my reputation began to grow, I took a few commissions and invested in prints and merchandise to sell. I even got a full body portrait commission from an up-and-coming celebrity rapper known as Lotto Ash.”

Now Chloe says her greatest achievement is winning SAA Best Young Portrait or Figure Award out of more than 4,900 people and the Young Artist of the Year 2020.

She won £500 in cash, £100 worth of art materials and a mentoring session with an SAA professional artist, as well as a Winsor and Newton gift set.

“Other than the fact that the prize itself is amazing and exciting to win,” Chloe said, “it’s a real confidence booster to any artist - particularly someone like me who is still emerging in the art world.”