Leigh Shenton, Founder of The Creative Visionary
Helping artists create kickass personal brands and connect with their ideal collectors
I was born in South Africa in the sixties, so I’m a real hippy at heart! Aged 17, I met the love of my life, Michael. We settled in Cape Town, married and embraced a bohemian lifestyle – making jewellery and spending endless hours on the beach. Our son arrived two years later and I juggled motherhood with modelling work to pay the bills.
In need of more money, we set up shop on Greenmarket Square – selling pretty much everything we had; on day one, we made four times our rent fee! Our homemade jewellery and clothes became a hit with punters – including the famous political cartoonist Derek Bauer, who became my mentor – and the bank balance soared.
Apartheid was at its most oppressive, so when Michael was called up for mandatory military service, he refused; he’d done a previous stint and vowed: “Never again.” With the authorities after us, we clandestinely made it to a friend’s in the UK.
My life, for the next decade or so, saw me soul-searching; adjusting to living in London and being thankful for the UK’s generous acceptance; raising a family of three; and successfully applying for British citizenship after seeking political asylum.
Our fortunes fluctuated, but I always stayed positive and creative. In the early noughties, I had a massively successful art business – selling my paintings on eBay.
Following a period of stability, there were more curve balls – including my mum passing away; contemplating my marriage to Michael, which I heavy-heartedly decided to end, as things hadn’t been great for some time; meeting someone else and moving to Dubai, but realising it wouldn’t work out after a very stop-start relationship; and experiencing years of depression before becoming a first-time grandmother in 2015. Now on a high, I wanted to grow and do something extraordinary with my life…
Since founding The Creative Visionary with the wonderful Paula Mould last year, I feel incredibly fulfilled and utterly committed to sharing my wisdom with like-minded people, as well as helping them to unlock their potential with our six-week mastermind courses on Facebook.
I derive immense joy from continuing to paint (I’m exhibiting next year!) and teaching creatives to express and market themselves.