A true story of how a successful young artist and entrepreneur began his journey from a small town council estate to the busy, independent life he has built from scratch in Sheffield- soon to be married and a graduate of one of the best art schools in the country.
Dean Judd was living in a small town council estate in rural Cumbria with no big plans for the future. His only income was the benefits he received, still in full-time college education at 20 years old. His neighbours were rowdy pre-teens with major attitude problems, he hated his IT course and never knew how to see beyond the next day or how to access his hidden potential…
Name: Dean Leonard Judd Birthday: February 27th 1992 Lives: Sheffield Hometown: Whitehaven, Cumbria Favourite Food: Chinese/ Japanese Favourite Drink: Tea Inspired by: Noel Fielding & little things Series: Game of Thrones YouTube: Jordan Underneath, Cadicarus, Jacksepticeye, Markiplier Plays: Pokemon, Monster Hunter Pets: A budgie and a cockatiel
Dean is now living independently in Sheffield with his fiance, Heather. As from October, he will be a married man and a Graduate of Sheffield Hallam University with a BA in Creative Arts Practice. As I write this, Dean is snowed under in preparation for his end of year degree show as well as earning his way, working part time at local pet supplies store. Dean is also the owner of his own brand and growing small business: Tattooed Teabag, where he creates original and custom designs to sell merchandise and gifts. Dean has used “Tattooed Teabag” as a brand name for his artwork since his school days, combining his love of English tea with tattoos.
As a creative businessman and artist, Dean has inspired me to begin a new blogging series where I actually write about other people’s success journeys. I love writing to inspire and I know there are so many successful people out there too humble or are unable to communicate their achievements to the world. I believe there are so many stories which can make a difference in other people’s lives- people who are on a dead end street as Dean was before he decided to change his life forever…
The Old Lifestyle…
Dean spent most of his time sleeping and being in front of his laptop when he wasn’t at college. This all changed not long after meeting his wife-to-be, Heather. She knew that he wasn’t destined to spend every day in bed until 2 pm or absorbed in the bomb site of his own room, with leftover takeaways and empty beer cans which his friends had disrespectfully left behind at 4 am. Heather was instantly turned off by this type of lifestyle however, there was something about Dean which told her this wasn’t a lifestyle of his choice. So, their very different worlds were to combine and there was so much they had to discover about each other…
When they entered each other’s homes, it was like entering a foreign country with an intense culture shock. Dean seldom considered washing the dishes after each meal (which to him was pizza or potato waffles) or even washing his beloved tea mug as he constantly drank tea throughout the day. Heather is pretty much Monica from “Friends”; she had a constant urge to clean Dean’s room- yet she had so much respect for this childlike character, she couldn’t bring herself to scold him at these early days in the relationship and for once, she learned to relax and got to know the Dean beyond this cluttered perimeter.
Dean had one more year left at college however, he knew deep down that this course was not what he wanted. He was a creative artist and had already found a way to put his time in during the boring IT classes by designing his wacky, unique characters on Microsoft Paint. These characters, Dean called “Smilies” and are all inspired by his friends and family- like caricatures. By satisfying his artistic hunger during unwanted IT classes, Dean gathered some amazing feedback from people he knew and more even people wanted him to create “Smilies” of themselves- some were even willing to pay!
Heather wanted to support Dean as much as she could and knew he needed that extra push to find his dreams before he could aim for them. Dean had only ended up on the IT course due to a negative experience on the college’s own art program- left feeling that he was not “good enough” to take the next level. This had disheartened Dean into believing he could ever qualify as an artist.
Heather had gone to a different college in the closest city to Whitehaven (Carlisle) and over an hour’s train ride away; she knew that this college had a much better reputation and discussed it with Dean. He decided to go to the open day with his Dad and fell in love with the whole scene- finally, his eyes were open to this artistic vision on his horizon and the dream began to form….
The First Steps: Artistic Development
The Access to Higher Education art course at Carlisle was a major part in Dean’s development. Getting a train at 7.20 am meant he was unable to stay up as late as he always had and got used to early mornings, he found bigger responsibilities to manage, a whole new circle of supportive friends- fellow artists! The joys in Dean’s life were expanding beyond those of tattoos and tea!
In December 2013, Dean had applied to 3 universities- with Manchester Metropolitan as his first choice. After receiving conditional offers from all 3, he happily accepted the offer from Sheffield Hallam University, with the strength to venture out of his comfort zone. After his first visit to Sheffield, he had fallen in love with the city. It was an exciting and emotional time for Dean and his family- everyone coming to terms that this small town 22-year-old would be moving out in a few months to the other end of the country.
In late Summer, Dean and Heather split up on good terms before university. Even though it was good terms, it meant him needing that much more strength when he entered the strange urban life of Sheffield city centre. Dean relied on family friends to transport him and his belongings down to Sheffield and he had spent the first night there alone, completely isolated and nobody he knew around to support him. With the break-up on his mind and the overwhelming fear of responsibilities absorbing his confidence, he began to doubt his abilities to do this…
The Steel City Student Life…
Once that first night was over with, Dean was soon embracing the extroverted world of “Freshers” and student social life. Being a tea drinker and not really one to go out, although he is a social butterfly, Dean allowed his new roommates to show him the city nightlife. When term began, Dean absorbed himself in his studies, making lots of new arty friends and by Christmas at the end of semester 1, Dean and Heather were back together again! They announced the good news to their friends and family on Christmas Eve 2014 (their 2-year anniversary date). Dean embraced in the student life story telling to his and Heather’s family- they all motivated him with their admiration and pride.
As Universtiy life went on, Dean landed his first part-time job at a local after school club as a play worker. This was his first ever job and he won it with his incredibly colourful personality, making friends with his boss on day 1. Dean was able to bring his art to work as he worked closely with his entrepreneurial boss.
Dean became part of the local art community at Gallery 35 in the city centre as well as exhibiting his work everywhere he could. As a natural people-person and with his enthusiasm as an extrovert, he nailed some amazing opportunities and made valuable contacts.
Things were looking bright in the Steel City. Not only was Dean living his artistic student dream, he was now ready to move in with Heather, as she was keen to live in Sheffield. In March 2016, they shacked up in a 2 bedroom apartment, where Dean acquired his own little office, where his imagination could run wild.
Now in his final year, he collaborated with his employer to sell his own pet designs in the store and market his services as a commercial digital artist. He calls the products “Animugs” and these are a custom or original design of your pet on a printed mug and are proving very popular with the customers.
A Complete Artist…
Taking a glance at the journey Dean has made to get to this point in his final year at university, he has pushed through boulders, embraced the challenge and fought anxiety to be the strong, independent man he is today. He runs a clean, tidy household, takes care of his future wife, plans his workload, earns his living and can now effectively plan a happy future. All the while he is still developing his skills as a digital artist and is working on new material on his professional software package.
Dean’s inspirational story is proof that all you need is potential, belief and the right people to support you in order to go from no vision to living your dream in a new place. He has always had the potential to lead this life, always been a positive ball of energy, lifting those around him with his spirit. I wish to thank Dean for sharing his journey and being my first idol in my “Inspired by People” series.
Dean is a digital artist available to hire. Check out his work at Tattooedteabag.com
- For print designs
- Custom gift mugs
- Tattoo designs
- Character creation
- Commissions & much more!
Tattoedteabag is also on YouTube!
Got an inspiration story? Email me or message me on social media and you or your nominated person could be next in my “Inspired by People” series…
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