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Tia O'Donnell

b. 1997 London, England

London based


2017- 2022 Central Saint Martins

Solo Exhibitions

2020 - MIND FULL, Colebrooke Row, London


Select Group Exhibitions

2023 - Fraud degree, Shoreditch Arts Club, London

2022 - Women to watch, Reem Gallery, SOHO London

2021 - CITYSTATES, Club Row, London

2020 - The Edge, The Columbia Hotel & Roman Road, London

2019 - Girls Talk/Elle Magazine, Saatchi Gallery, London

2019 - Project 5-50-5, Joseph Froissart Gallery, Paris

2019 - Looking For Validation, Nayland Rock Hotel, Margate

2018 - Offline, Spike+Earl, London

2018 - Foundation, The Letherby Gallery, London

2017 - Sho-Ho, 100 Greek Street,  London

2017 - SOMETHING TO HATE ON, Groucho Club, London

Artist In Residency  

JULY -  SEPTEMBER 2020 The Columbia Hotel in partnership with Roman Road Gallery 


"Tia guides us through her fascinating and engrossing childhood-inspired work, and discusses advocating for art as a source of strength."

"Becoming Comfortable in the Uncomfortable: In Conversation with Tia O’Donnell"

 “Shining light on the deep and dark corners of the mind, we visited Tia O'Donnell's latest exhibition Mind Full.” TMRW Magazine

Fred Perry X Record Store Day Tote bags. “‘Fred Perry Subculture Profile: Tia O'Donnell”

"Why this UAL grad wants her tuition fees refunded"

"Watch women in the arts"

"Meet The Student Who Protested At Her Graduation Ceremony"


London-born artist and illustrator, Tia O'Donnell, has solidified her status as a 'rising star' within the contemporary art world. Renowned for her intuitive and abstract paintings, she delves into the realms of color, emotion, nature, and mental health. However, Tia's artistic prowess extends far beyond traditional paintings, encompassing prints, sculptures, ceramics, clothing, performances, and jewelry.


Since 2013, Tia has utilized painting and drawing as her primary mode of communication, intertwining her creative process with journaling, illustration, and hands-on work with clay and metal. Her fine art, created autobiographically, not only serves as a personal outlet but also establishes a secure space for self-expression, encouraging others to embrace imperfections as strengths. Venturing into the realm of fashion, Tia collaborates with eco-conscious brands like Rhi Dancey and City States, emphasizing her commitment to environmental sustainability. Her exploration of jewelry-making and soldering sculptures is a recent addition to her diverse artistic pursuits, where she repurposes inanimate objects collected during her journeys, infusing them with personality and narrative.

Tia's deep connection with nature and her love for the sea have recently become focal points in her artwork. Regular visits to Ardentinny allow her to immerse herself in the outdoors, collecting lost treasures that find their way into her creations. Nature serves as both muse and medium as Tia translates her experiences into evocative works of art, aiming to elicit honest emotions and share stories of scars.

What distinguishes Tia is her appreciation for her younger self, embracing the playful aspects of her childhood artistry. Described as an "overgrown child refusing to be an adult," her style effortlessly merges childlike whimsy with the challenges of adulthood. Tia considers her work akin to a diary entry, finding fulfillment when audiences connect with its relatable essence.

Tia's creative process, spanning illustration, painting, collage, and sculpting, appears both methodical and effortless. Her diary serves as the genesis, with each piece evolving from personal experiences, memories, or traumas, shaping the project's format. Utilizing sentimental elements such as receipts and fabrics, she imparts a mosaic-like quality to her pieces, transforming them into extensions of herself—a therapeutic outlet that breathes new life into inanimate objects.

Adding to the complexity of her artistic journey, Tia O'Donnell is a London-based multidisciplinary artist who graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2022. Her path took a unique turn when she used her creative talents to draw attention to the challenges faced by students during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly regarding the quality of their art education and the financial burden it placed on them.

O'Donnell's journey began with a childhood dream of attending Central Saint Martins, a prestigious institution known for nurturing some of the world's most iconic creatives. Her acceptance into the university was a moment of immense pride and excitement, but her expectations quickly shifted as the pandemic disrupted her education. Instead of the vibrant campus experience she had anticipated, she found herself completing most of her coursework from her bedroom.

This shift to online learning left O'Donnell and her fellow students feeling disconnected and unsatisfied with their educational experience, especially given the substantial tuition fees they were paying. With tuition costs of £9,250 per year, O'Donnell, like many students, felt that she wasn't receiving the education she had paid for.

Her protest began with a powerful statement: "I Want a Refund." At her graduation ceremony, she unveiled this message by draping it across her graduation gown, catching the attention of tutors, deans, and officials in attendance. It was a bold move, symbolizing the frustration and disappointment that many students were feeling.

O'Donnell's protest did not stop at her graduation ceremony; it evolved into a larger movement. Students across the UK began adopting her "I Want A Refund" message, boycotting their own graduation ceremonies to demand fairness and accountability from universities. This grassroots movement gained traction, eventually leading to a legal victory as the High Court ruled in favor of students' rights to sue universities for pandemic-related disruptions and breaches of student contracts.

Through her art and activism, O'Donnell has raised important questions about the quality of education during the pandemic and the rights of students as consumers. She has received significant support from fellow students, parents, and tutors, demonstrating the widespread concern for these issues.

Looking ahead, O'Donnell and the movement aim to join organizations like The Student Group Claim, advocating for student rights and compensation. She encourages all students who believe they deserve refunds for disrupted educational experiences to actively participate in the cause.

Tia O'Donnell's artistic journey has taken a powerful and unexpected turn, utilizing creativity not only as a means of self-expression but also as a tool for advocating change in the education system. Her "I Want a Refund" movement sparks conversations about fairness, accountability, and the value of education during challenging times. As an artist, she persists in drawing attention to crucial social issues, challenging the status quo, and inspiring others to do the same.


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