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Painting of a scene with Primark colleagues at checkouts.

Ellie Pratt – On painting for Primark


  • Student Journal
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  • Fine Art


Working with such a large company as a student was a daunting but incredible opportunity. It opened my mind to the possibilities for my future as an artist, and gave me amazing work experience.

I’ve always had a strong passion to create art, whether that’s working with textiles, drawing, photography or other disciplines. Painting, however, is addictive to me. Whenever I pick up a paintbrush, I find myself in a new dimension that brings me so much joy. Studying Fine Art has always been something I knew I wanted to pursue, and I'm so glad I did.

I was recently commissioned by Primark to create three oil paintings for their Head office in Dublin. This opportunity arose from a summer project I did in 2023. The BA (Hons) Fine Art course assigned us to create work which represents the work industry, and seeing as I’m a Primark colleague, I decided to draw and paint the staff members, including the hustle and bustle around the store. I posted the works I made onto my TikTok, which one of the CEO’s assistants came across, and it all stemmed from there.

The three paintings represent Primark’s values, which are Caring, Together and Dynamic. I captured these values by photographing the staff working as a team, looking out for each other, customer service roles, management roles and friendly faces. The reference photos I took were then collaged together in ways which I felt compositionally worked best before beginning my painting process. It was an honour to collaborate with Primark to create bespoke paintings which embodied the team’s visions, as well as my personal painting style.

I was well supported by them as well as AUB — although I had instructions, the creative freedom was limitless, which encouraged me to thrive!

It's a blessing to say Primark invited me to their Primark Connect 2024 event in Dublin. I had a live stage interview with the CEO, Paul Merchant, in front of just under 2,000 people. Despite how nervous I was, it was phenomenal to speak about my artwork to such a large audience and see their engagement, which definitely improved my confidence levels and presentation skills. I also had the opportunity to meet Rita Ora, who has also collaborated with Primark on a clothing line. Connecting with artists on a huge scale like her was very inspiring.

Moving forward, I’m aiming to push myself and step out of my comfort zone. I’m currently in my second year, creating work in preparation for an exhibition at the Bournemouth Natural Science Society. My goal is to paint landscapes onto walls that will be presented in the museum’s garden. It'll definitely be a challenge, but I’m very excited about it. I’m always exploring colours and mark-making techniques to bring my paintings to life as much as possible.

After my degree, I'd love to complete a Master’s in Painting and perhaps get a PhD, so I can guide the next generation of passionate artists. I'd also love to continue doing commissions, and perhaps work with large companies in the future if the opportunities arise again.

I like to view my future with an open mind — anything is possible if you have a dream and love what you do.

Check out more of Ellie's artwork on TikTok and Instagram.

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