Norwich's shop fronts help student architect and artist become TikTok success story

Norwich architect assistant Olivia Elsey, 23, with her artistic creations from Norwich.

Norwich architect assistant Olivia Elsey, 23, with her artistic creations from Norwich. Picture: Olivia Elsey - Credit: Olivia Elsey

They are seen by thousands of people each day and form Norwich's historic street scene.

And thanks to the artistic talents of budding architect, Olivia Elsey, 23, who puts 30-second videos of her sketches and paintings of buildings and shop fronts on social media site TikTok, thousands more can enjoy them.

The picture of Ruth's Kitchen on Magdalen Street, Norwich, by 23-year-old Olivia Elsey.

The painting of Ruth's Kitchen on Magdalen Street by Olivia Elsey. Picture: Olivia Elsey - Credit: Olivia Elsey

Miss Elsey, who lives in Norwich city centre and works at Hudson Architects, started doing small sketches of shops on

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during lockdown on her outdoor walks from the end of March.

The History Box shop front on Magdalen Street, Norwich, drawn by Olivia Elsey.

The painting of The History Box on Magdalen Street, Norwich, by Olivia Elsey. - Credit: Olivia Elsey

As her sketches and paintings got bigger she documented her artistic process "on a whim" in April on TikTok, where she now has 7,000 followers, and her success has helped her attract commissions of Norwich buildings.

The painting of the Big C charity shop on Magdalen Street, Norwich, by Olivia Elsey.

The painting of a Norwich house by Olivia Elsey. - Credit: Olivia Elsey

Miss Elsey, who moved to Norwich aged 18 from Huddersfield to study an architecture degree at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA), said: "It gave me something to do in lockdown. I have always been an arty person. It allowed me to practice my skills."

A picture of a home in Norwich by Olivia Elsey, 23, from the city.

The painting of a Norwich house by Olivia Elsey. - Credit: Olivia Elsey

The first place she sketched was Ancestors Coffee and she preferred drawing Victorian and Edwardian-style terrace shop fronts with "old doors and wonky windows".

"Norwich is a beautiful city and has interesting architecture. It is almost like going back in time. I love the low and quiet authenticity of the city," the 23-year-old said.

Olivia Elsey's artistic depiction of Sahara cafe on Magdalen Street, Norwich.

The painting of Sahara cafe on Magdalen Street by Olivia Elsey. - Credit: Olivia Elsey

Miss Elsey has worked as an assistant at Hudsons since graduating from NUA and focuses on her sketches and paintings in the evenings and weekends to fit around her studies.

The painting of Stiffkey Bathrooms shop front on Upper St Giles Street, Norwich, created by Olivia Elsey, 23.

The painting of Stiffkey Bathrooms on Upper St Giles Street, Norwich, by Olivia Elsey. - Credit: Olivia Elsey

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She uses elements of technical drawing skills picked up from her degree but puts an artistic spin on her creations which take four-six hours to complete.

She described TikTok as invaluable for showcasing her artwork adding it, along with other social media channels, had helped her to hone her skills.

A painting of Soundclash record shop on St Benedicts Street, Norwich, by 23-year-old Olivia Elsey.

The painting of Sound Clash record store on St Benedicts Street, Norwich, by Olivia Elsey. - Credit: Olivia Elsey

Describing her TikTok success, she said: "I think it is crazy. I didn't think I would get to the level where people would want to have my work."

Since the first lockdown Miss Elsey has created 30 paintings and 40 videos.

To follow her search @livpaintsbuildings on TikTok.

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