BRIAN KIELT: ASHES TO ASHES

By | 10:35 PM
Brian Kielt is a Visual Artist living and working in Northern Ireland with painting, drawing and photography. His practice in Figurative, Neo-Expressive art revolves around personal experiences, mythology and a sense of mortality/fragility. Brian creates artworks in oil, charcoal, pencil, pastels, photography and mixed media.


Painting, mortality, brian kielt
Fractum,  2013  © Brian Kielt 
Tell me how you began creating in your current medium:

I first used Oil when creating a painting in school at 14. Since being used to only acrylics or watercolours, there was definitely a learning curve. It began as mud and then slowly the realisation came that cleaning and preparation was half the battle with Oils. I first experimented mixing Oils with other medium when I was halfway through my Fine and Applied Arts course in Belfast in 2007. I haven't looked back but I'm still constantly pushing the materials and developing my practice with them.


How long have you considered yourself an artist?

3 years. During university I always felt I was in a bubble and so the 'art student' tag fitted me perfectly. Once I left university I was forced to stand on my own two feet, find a studio, sustain my practice and apply for competitions; which is when I felt that my professional Artist career began.


Painting, mortality, brian kielt
Exspecto,  2013  © Brian Kielt 

What things inspire you to create art?

People mostly. We are fascinating. The figure is usual extremely prevalent in my work. Memory and experience go hand in hand in my opinion and so they jump in from time to time, especially when an experience triggers a said memory or vice versa.

What are you trying to convey through your art, and what does it mean to you?

The fragility between life and death. Mortality interests me a lot because I lost quite a few close friends and family members over a short period of time and it was a dark point in my life. This time still haunts and inspires me at the same time. I try to figure out why it scares and excites.


Painting, mortality, brian kielt
Beth,  2013  © Brian Kielt 

Tell me about influences, if any:

Francis Bacon is a massive influence on my work. He blew open what it was like to explore the human condition through the medium of paint. Gerhard Richter, Hughie O' Donoghue, Paul Nash and Edvard Munch also spring to mind immediately. There are so many influences beyond painting as well.

Photography can trigger an idea for a painting or a large-scale drawing quicker than a painting by someone else because you can immediately see what you would do in your own style, your stamp; rather than deciphering someone else's paint/handwriting and then building it up again.


Local artists are a huge inspiration to me. Eoin McGinn, David Lee Badger, Louise Younger, Craig Donald and Gemma O'Hare came through the same university system with me so I have had the privilege of seeing their work from day one; watching it develop and grow. We all feed of each other's creativity so the idea of a bubble in university has lingered on in some regards!


Painting, mortality, brian kielt
Opacare,  2013  © Brian Kielt 

Tell me about your creative process, from the beginning of a work to its completion:

It usually begins with a found image or maybe a quick 5 minute sketch of someone/something. I either blow the sketch up on a projector or develop it from hand onto the painting surface (varies from canvas to board). Then layering of charcoal drawing, washes of turpentine and oil paint repeats itself until either it is finished or I can go no further that sitting because I will destroy the work if I try to fix it. If I cannot finish it in one sitting, I let it stay on my wall for a week and begin another. If inspiration still hasn't come after a week I hide the painting for a month and then take it out to view it with fresh eyes. The layering process either begins again or I wipe the image clean and start another.

What exposure have you had?

I won a competition for the Stendhal Arts Festival in 2011 for a portrait of a fellow Artist. I have since had several exhibitions in Belfast: Culture Night Belfast 2011 & 2012, Ulster Bank Arts Festival and Opening Exhibition at the Muse Gallery in December 2012 to name a few. I had a review about my work recently in an online magazine which was great!

What is the most annoying remark made to you about your art?

There have been a few but the one that sticks out the most was "So, when are you going to get a real job?" It took a while to laugh my way past that one.

Do you have any regrets in your life as an artist?

I don't really believe in regrets but perhaps being more disciplined than I can be at times.


Painting, figurative, brian kielt
Silvis,  2013  © Brian Kielt 

What plans do you have for the future of your art?

I'm in the middle of organising my first solo exhibition for the end of this year; there is Culture Night 2013 in September in Belfast where I and fellow Artists are planning something a little different to the usual proposals. Generally I hope to gain more exposure for my work which will enable me to continue my practice and develop as an Artist.

Do you have any advice for emerging artists?

No one ever knows it all. We are all constantly learning so the one thing I would encourage for anyone starting off is to keep an open mind in all areas of your work and to create something first instead of questioning it. If you ask why before it's even made, then there is no point in making it in the first place.

I try to sketch for at least an hour each day. This loosens your brain up and a little mark here or there can lead to something else.

How do you promote your art both on and off the internet?

I'm one of the founding members of the LOFT collective, a group of emerging visual Artists based in Belfast's city centre. Together we enhance our individual practices - ranging from painting, sculpture, photography, web design and many more - as well as collaborate on group projects and exhibitions. Twitter for LOFT collective is @LoftBelfast

I have open studio days where the public can come up to view my work and see my process. On the internet I use my blog, Facebook and Twitter primarily although I'm also on LinkedIn.

Have you sold any of your art, if so how?

I have sold several pieces, mainly through the group exhibitions I have been involved in.


Painting, figurative, brian kielt
Solatium,  2012  © Brian Kielt
How should people find you online...

I have my portfolio, blog, C.V. and more on my Artist Website and can be reached or followed on Facebook and Twitter: @BKieltArtist. There is also a link for the LOFT collective.











all images ©Brian Kielt 
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