Versatile Vanessa Raw hopes her pivot from triathlon to art can catapult the Brownlee brothers to more Olympic glory.
Hexham’s Raw enjoyed a successful 11-year career as a triathlete and scooped a hat-trick of medals across 26 races around the world.
She retired in 2014 and put her Fine Art degree from Loughborough University to perfect use by swapping swimming, cycling and running for a career as a full-time artist.
Raw, 36, has now been commissioned by Purplebricks – the official estate agent of Team GB – to create a unique piece of artwork ahead of the Olympic Games and wants her crowd-inspired painting to fire Britain’s triathlon brothers, and their teammates, to more Games success.
“Art was always my main love, but I was involved in triathlon for 11 years and it taught me how important it was to have the support of people around you for motivation and for performance,” said Raw, whose artwork is part of Purplebricks’ ‘Home Support’ campaign which promotes the importance of the nation getting behind Team GB in Tokyo.
“Art was always first. I always knew I wanted to be an artist, it just took a while to put the sport aside and get on with the art.
“Sport really helped give me that persistence and endurance needed to work super hard as an artist, because there are no guarantees of making it in either area.
“This is a great opportunity to rally up more support for Team GB athletes in Tokyo later this year.
“It's important we get behind Team GB from home and show that support. Given the fact that athletes may not have family, friends or British people with them in Tokyo, it's vital they feel the same support as they did in London and Rio.
“I'm very proud to be chosen to help Purplebricks with this campaign. I feel quite honoured to be involved in the Olympic process in a different way.”
Purplebricks is encouraging people to keep the home fires of support burning with the intensity of London 2012 and Laura Kenny, a four-time Olympic champion, is one of the faces of the ‘Home Support’ campaign.
The UK’s largest estate agent have commissioned Raw, boxer Joe Joyce and inspirational mouth artist Henry Fraser to create unique pieces of artwork ahead of this summer.
The three artists were all chosen because of their roles as elite sportspeople and their ability to create eye-catching works that epitomise the spirit of British support.
Raw spent weeks creating her painting and has sought to use the evocative image of a crowd, painted with oil on linen, to send a powerful message to Team GB.
Raw knows British athletes will face unique challenges in Japan but hopes her diligently-designed piece can recreate the support she received during her triathlon career.
“It will be quite hard for the athletes not to have their friends and family watching them,” added Raw, whose finished artwork will later be made available to the public and feature on limited edition prints and Purplebricks For Sale sign boards up and down the country.
“Competing at the Games can be quite a stressful time for them and high pressure, although they will be enjoying themselves. Having their family close by would be a big support for them, normally, so it will be definitely harder for them.
“It makes a massive difference when you have people around you, willing you on. When there are crowds of people who don't know you supporting you, it's a great feeling of connectedness.
“My painting is trying to remind us all that no matter what, the athletes are always supported and sport brings us all together.
“I hope Team GB athletes feel supported and celebrated when they see my piece of art.”
Purplebricks is the UK’s technology-led estate agent and offers customers a transparent and convenient way to buy, sell, or let. Purplebricks gives customers the combined support of Local Property Experts, an online platform and a central customer service team. More information can be found at www.purplebricks.co.uk.