“I’M GLAD it happened, but it was traumatic at the time.”

Four years ago, Hove resident Sam Lock was happily working as an art teacher in South London.

“I came out of art school in Edinburgh and thought I couldn’t make a living as an artist, so I looked to do other things,” he said.

Without warning, the 46-year-old was made redundant – the biting effect of education cuts.

Now Sam had to find a new way to support sons Noah and Joe.

He said: “You spend your life thinking you need something stable and tenable and then it all changes.

“Education is a strange place to work. There are redundancies, cuts and changes all of the time.”

Sam originally set about applying for teaching jobs.

But he began to notice a pattern.

“Every time I had an interview, I sold a painting,” he said.

“I started to stitch things together. I’d do an art fair and sell five or six paintings.

“At one point I was delivering leaflets, trying to make ends meet.

“It was all about holding my nerve.”

Soon came a breakthrough.

A day before an interview with a Sussex college, Sam had a call from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore.

The resort wanted to commission him.

“That was half of my teaching salary in one day,” he said.

Four years on from his redundancy, the Hove Lagoon resident is now an established full-time artist.

His latest exhibition will take place at the Cadogan Contemporary gallery in London, opening on September 9.

This is his third showing at the prestigious venue.

Sam said: “When I had my first exhibition there, I wasn’t the finished article.

“Then in the second I was building confidence.

“Now I’m putting everything together.

“These paintings don’t really mean anything, they’re not objects, but I want them to be experiences.

“I want people to respond to this and explore themselves.”

Sam admitted he missed his teaching days now he spends hours in his studio

But his old job will still influence him, alongside mum and fellow artist Jenny.

“Work ethic runs in the family. I have to force myself out of the studio sometimes,” he said.