BENSTED, Noel

hoiwson PIILLL

Noel Bensted was born in 1970 and studied illustration at Brighton University and the Royal College of Art. Noel has recently been shortlisted for the internationally prestigious BP Portrait Award, and was exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery as a result, adding to his growing international reputation.

Noel carried out many commissions for publishers before concentrating on full-time painting in 1997. He works from life, often in one or two sittings, which enables him to be fresh, creative and inventive. This lends the work immediacy and energy. He is very concerned with the different effects of light according to time of day and the season. He is now a leading British figurative artist.

Noel Bensted's subjects are the young men and women who socialise in the clubs and cafes of cities such as Rome, and Cuba. His paintings are peopled with the young of today, dressed in contemporary clothing with all the edginess and vitality of urban life. These portraits have an intimate atmosphere, drawing you into the paintings, suggesting a connection between the subject and the viewer. There is no apparent posing but a reflective moment shared and an intimate atmosphere. Single nude figures show different painterly skills and the atmosphere in these paintings is quieter and more contemplative. In his larger set pieces, there is a tension present between the protagonists, drawing the viewer into the unfolding story on the canvas. This involvement with the subjects lends his work a distinct cinematic quality that is emphasized by his bold brush strokes, strong colours and chiaroscuro.

Noel Bensted’s paintings are regularly exhibited throughout the United Kingdom and North America.