Borders artist Rob Hain: Brexit is making my job harder

A BORDERS artist has revealed how Brexit is affecting his business.

Rob Hain, of Lilliesleaf, says that a paint he has used for more than a decade will no longer be available through his supplier due to distribution changes.

Mr Hain has used Atelier Acrylic paints for 15 years, describing it as an acrylic paint that “feels like oil paint”.

“As a professional I have to make a living and if my raw materials are going up [in price] then it’s difficult,” he told the Border Telegraph.

READ MORE: ‘I left Galashiels more than 50 years ago – and I’ve since travelled the world’

Mr Hain became a professional artist in 1981, but his love of art began when he was a child.

“It’s the only thing I’m really any good at to be fair,” he joked.

Although he has already begun the search for a replacement for Atelier Acrylic, he says he has yet to find a suitable alternative.

He said: “When people think of acrylic paint they think of plastic, they think it’s all shiny, but the Atelier ones are really good because they look and feel just like oil paints.

“I’ve looked at other places and really either you’re paying through the nose for it or it’s substandard paint that wouldn’t come up to the mark.”

Since the UK left the EU on December 31, major companies in several industries have outlined the difficulties they have experienced.

However, some small, independent business are also taking a hit under the recent changes.

Border Telegraph:

Mr Hain expressed how losing his paint will affect his work, and why the arts should not be overlooked when talking about Brexit.

“There’s a section of the population that has disposable income and the price of materials isn’t really a problem,” he said, “but for your average artist we’re all looking around for a good deal like anyone else.

“For my own purposes I just enjoy using acrylic and this is the best acrylic.

“I think people realise that it [Brexit] affects things on all different levels – it’s not just the big lorries going over from Dover.

“It’s loads of other areas of life which are already affected, right down to what we would think would be a leisure activity – but it’s not, it’s how I make my living.”

READ MORE: Save puppies from suffering at hands of ‘bad’ breeders, Borders urged

Not only has Mr Hain had trouble sourcing supplies, he is also having to think about his international customers.

The 68-year-old has an online store which he created with help from his son-in-law, and he explained he has some collectors in Scotland, but others live in Ireland, and in Europe.

Mr Hain admitted he had not considered how Brexit could affect him before his paint supplies were stopped.

He said: “It’s difficult enough at the best of times trying to sell paintings.

READ MORE: The Borders grandmother doing her best to make sure ‘no-one goes hungry’

“It’s all these little things coming in now which are giving me challenges.

“I think everyone’s been affected [by Brexit] in some way – you just don’t realise until it actually hits.

“This [being an artist] isn’t a hobby, so it’s serious and I really have to think carefully.”

But Mr Hain says artists are “resilient”, and he is hopeful he will come out of this challenge “OK at the end”.

During the pandemic Mr Hain moved his studio to his home. His current project is painting the House for an Art Lover in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow.

Border Telegraph | News