Kerry Beall’s artwork has always been on our radar, we are so glad we finally got to chat to her and find out a bit more about what she does. You can find some of her work in Art Republic in Brighton some of you may recognise it from there. We love her mix of colourful inks, messy brush strokes and drips combined with such fine beautiful charcoal detail. Gorgeous work by a gorgeous lady.
Hey Kerry, Tell us a little about your artistic background, how did you get into portraiture?
Hello! Well, I haven’t had a formal background in Art, I’ve always enjoyed doing a bit of drawing, especially as a kid, but didn’t see myself as an artist, because I didn’t think I could draw that well. I think a lot of people feel like that. I pursued a career in Graphic Design, which I was really excited about at the time, and it’s had a big influence on the work I do now. I knew I was destined for something creative, and I really enjoy graphic design, but the work I was doing was quite tight and restrictive. I’m not sure what possessed me, but I got some inks out, watched a youtube video on how to draw a face, and then something exciting happened. It wasn’t perfect (that definitely comes with practice) but it looked like a face, and I was pleased with that. I remember feeling really free and excited at the prospect of something appearing from a blank piece of paper. I’m drawn to portraits, especially the eyes, it’s the magic part that makes the artwork alive.
You are one of those rare artists who can completely capture some ones true likeness, any tips on getting it right?
Well, it’s something I’m still working on. I always use a reference, and it doesn’t turn out perfectly all the time. Mistakes happen too. Practice really does help, and understanding how the anatomy of the head works. Having a deeper knowledge of where things are positioned on the face helps. It’s being really particular about the features to gain an exact likeness. Some of the characteristics like the shape of the nostril, or the curve of the lip, are so unique to a person, and it could be the smallest stroke of charcoal that will make or break it. I’d like to draw from life really, but there’s not a queue out the door of people wanting to sit and pose!
You have developed a beautiful style, mixing charcoal and ink, do you work into your art digitally too?
In my earlier pieces, I have drawn the charcoal and the inkwork separately. This is because I wanted to use different paper for each medium. I chuck a lot of water at the ink work so I need a heavy textured paper. I like to work with charcoal on a smooth surface, that’s down to preference I guess. So some of my earlier works, I have merged the ink work and charcoal work in photoshop after I’ve created it.
I can see you have been mixing it up lately, using oils and even teabags, how important do you think it is to be experimental and try new things as an artist? What’s your favorite medium to work with?
I very much feel I’m still in the development process with my artwork. Perhaps all artists feel like that, and it should always be ever evolving. I’m still wanting to explore more mediums, and I’ve recently started working with oil, and I love it! Think it’ll be a tricky one to master, but for me, the colours and the way it blends puts it in a league of its own. I think it’s important to stretch yourself. I try and remind myself that ‘life begins outside the comfort zone’ I have that phrase framed! It’s actually something I find really difficult. I don’t like making mistakes, so I will often create artwork I know will work. but I think the real gold comes from making those mistakes and stepping outside the ‘safe’ zone. So I’m working on that.
Some of your latest work focuses on film stars of the fifties, why did you choose these particular women and what is it about woman in general that you love to draw so much?
I had a vision for those pieces, that they would work as a series alongside each other. All those film stars had flowers named after them, or some sort of history that connected them to flowers. For instance, there is a pink rose named the ‘Audrey Hepburn’ and she used to eat tulip
bulbs to survive during her childhood in the Netherlands that was under German occupation. So the portrait Includes tulip petals too! I think I might venture into drawing men, but I find women easier
to draw actually..maybe because I am one! (there’s that comfort zone again) I guess, like many things in nature, the face is beautiful and can express the soul. I often like to combine elements of nature into the portraits too, depicting a sense of unity.
If you were to collaborate with any artist who would it be, alive or dead?
It would have to be Dali! I remember he was my inspiration at school! there’s so many inspirational artists that I come across all the time, but Dali holds a creative magic that resonates with me.
If we want to purchase any of your work where can we find it?
I’m selling some of my work on my website:
Also some original pieces can be found on:
And in Brighton at:
Finally can we see your workspace?
Check out more of Kerry’s work below: