Artist of the Month - Ben Kelly

The family picnic - Ben Kelly

The family picnic - Ben Kelly - Credit: Archant

On the face of it Ben Kelly’s paintings are easy to understand. They tell a story, include people and animals and record 21st century life wearing their technical accomplishment lightly.

The Manchester-born artist is rapidly making a name for himself throughout the country with his work which fractures light in a complex series of paint layers. It’s a trademark of his oil paintings which sell out sometimes weeks before an exhibition has officially opened.

Ben’s quirky humour shines through The Family Picnic characterised by intricate shafts of light slicing through the trees as people enjoy the open space. Since graduating from Central Saint Martins art college, he has developed this bold, expressive style.

The first painter since L.S. Lowry to win the substantial Football and the Fine arts Prize he was artist in residence at Manchester City Football Club, and has had work exhibited at the Lowry Centre, the National Football Museum, City of Manchester Museum and Cambridge University.

Kelly admits to being a huge admirer of Hogarth, and like him finds the extraordinary in scenes of everyday life. Each of his paintings appears to pull in the viewer, offering the chance for them to create their own narrative structure. It’s an impressive skill.

He doesn’t just paint scenes from the North West venturing south to Cornwall, Wales and across to New York. Already the subject of a published monograph, A Way of Seeing -The Art of Ben Kelly, he is considering offers from a number of London and South East dealers.

Still fitting lecturing in the Midlands around his painting, he is in no hurry to change his life. ‘I’m hopefully at the beginning rather than the end of my artistic career, so there is no point in chasing things. I just paint the best I can and the rest will take care of itself,’ he said.

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His work is sold at Clark Art in Hale and the Gateway Gallery in Macclesfield for four-figure sums.