To celebrate her new book ‘send nudes’, we spoke to Sophie Tea Art about the launch, her career journey so far, and a plan to be the biggest artist in the world.

Social media sensation Sophie Tea, (or Sophie Tea Art as she’s better known online) has mastered the art of self-expression. Offering fans glimpses into her studio and creative process through viral videos, her Carnaby Street gallery captures the joyous colours of her art, and the empowerment of her creative process. 


Recent collections like ‘Women’ celebrate the female form, offering a unique perspective on the commodification of women’s bodies. She develops this concept in her latest project: a coffee table book called ‘send nudes’.


To celebrate its launch, we spoke to Sophie Tea about creating a safe space for women, the commodification of art, and the role of social media in her practice.

First off, congratulations on the launch of the new book. How did you first get involved in the art world?

I started nine years ago. I studied business but always loved painting, I didn’t think I could do it as a career because teachers had always said you couldn’t. Then I went to India and my hostel had a wall full of graffiti and I was running out of money. I asked the manager if I could paint in return for a free stay, and he said yes. When I was painting I was just like: ‘This is what I’ve got to do with my life.’

You recently hit 680K on TikTok. How has social media played a role in your career?

Social media has been our entire journey. I started posting on Facebook, then Instagram came around and I recognised very early on that there was a market. Galleries can be intimidating and I wanted my art to feel like a safe, accessible place. 


More recently I’ve realised the power we have is our connection to people online. In the past I’d hide that I was an Instagram artist; I was always ashamed of that. I’d been trying to get recognition of galleries or the art world but the reality is I don’t need them.

You’ve got a gallery on Carnaby Street – how does curating a physical space differ from a digital space?

We’ve had three locations in Carnaby over the last four years. All I’ve ever wanted is to make people feel welcome in a space where there’s art. There’s been so many times even now where I feel intimidated. I’ve decorated this gallery to make it feel like a boujee family home. No one’s going to tell you to move on. That’s the point of a gallery. Young people can come in and not be afraid to take a cool selfie.

Your team is women-led, how important is being female-forward to you?

I want everyone in my team to realise that they have the power to do whatever they want because they’re all talented, amazing individuals. There’s this sense of camaraderie. You’re spending all this time with your team so that’s what I want in a workplace: pushing up women. I love that ecosystem of helping women that we’ve got going on. That’s the whole point of it.

Your artwork is also inclusive as your ‘women’ series celebrates different bodies. What does femininity mean to you?

I think magic happens when women feel empowered. We have ‘nudies’ who strip naked for us, I paint on their bodies, and they walk naked down a catwalk. There’s a sisterhood and energy in the room on the day of the shows that’s like nothing you’ll ever experience. I love what women can do for each other.


When I was little I didn’t have the best experience with my own body and I never wanted anyone to feel the way I felt. Painting the nudes was a cathartic process for me. Seeing something so close to how you look has an amazing effect on your own confidence.


When I started painting women four or five years ago it hadn’t been done and now we’re seeing more of it in the media. These are real women and that should be reflected in the media and society. I just feel good that we were close to the start of that whole movement. So many young girls will be feeling so much better about themselves and we’ll have a generation of more confident women. It’s not just about your body but who you are at work, as a person, the jobs and money we could make, the whole thing.

In a similar vein you recently did a project raising money for MIND. Why are projects like this important to you?

Someone tried to come in and buy a piece of art. I was posting all over social media looking for a courier service for him. But he went to get his card and never came back. I was mortified so I thought why don’t I just donate the piece to charity. Overnight we raised £50,000 for MIND. We work together quite closely now. They’ve got this new thing called ‘with women in mind’ but they do amazing, amazing things. 

More cynically, the commercialisation of art can often be a tricky topic. How do you balance profitability and creative expression?

I think about this all the time because I have this massive conflict in my life. I’m a businesswoman and an artist and the two don’t combine, there’s always compromises. I want to prove that you don’t need the establishment to approve you to be a proper artist. But I also really want to make good art. Mass producing has always played on my mind – whether I’m decreasing the value of what I’m doing by being so prolific. I plan to be the biggest artist in the world and I have a twenty year plan on how to do so with what I call three-year segments. I have to be making fucking good art and that is now the priority for the next three years.

You recently produced your first glass sculpture – how was that?

It was so fun. I had a bit of beginner’s luck. The first one was really good but then I did another session and I was 100% shit at it. It’s such a laborious, hot, hard process. You’re gasping for water after about two minutes because it’s unbelievably hot. The weight of it is so heavy and you’re dripping, you’re constantly turning it because if it gets too cool it will shatter.


We’re putting our first one to auction on the 7th of June with Tate Ward auctions. It’s called ‘Amber’ and the plinth is a massive chunk of marble, it stands at 37 cm tall, and it’s amazing.

Your book ‘send nudes’ just came out. What was that process like?

I thought it would be so easy. It took us three years, I couldn’t believe how difficult it was, but it was great. I reckon if we had to do it again it’d take three weeks. We learnt so much and we’ve got that knowledge in our team now so bring on number two!


We sold the first 1000 copies in 5 minutes. It’s the boujee-ist, heaviest coffee table book. It’s disgustingly elaborate and unnecessarily detailed. There’s stuff in there that’s never been done in print, like there’s a holographic section. We made our own colour paper called Sophie Tea pink with GF Smith and the paper and pulp was made up in the Lake District. We’ve had shimmers and foilings come in from Italy.


I had a satin ribbon shipped to Sydney and hand-splattered all 5000 copies, shipped them back and they were sewn in. We’ve got VR and AR features. There’s even a naked picture of me in it.

It seems like you’re really pushing yourself creatively. What can we expect to see next from Sophie Tea? 

We are breaking America. Kidding! We’ve got a show in September in LA. We’ve got another NFT dropping this Summer. We’ve got some holographic stuff. That’s the canvas for my new nude artwork. I’m moving back to ‘nudes’ because I feel it’s just where I belong. 


This new era is called ‘muse’ and focuses on the individual female and really going deep on stories. There’s celebrities involved, there’s some of my nudies from my last era involved.