Brian Ballard has enjoyed a long and hugely successful career as a painter. His non-fussy and bold painterly style reflects strong influences from Bonnard, Matisse and Picasso. He paints and condenses simple everyday objects down to their “essence” with confident, sketchy brushwork and an instinctive sense of colour, texture and chiaroscuro. His work is also reflective of the still lifes by Californian artist Richard Diebenkorn. A talented colourist, Brian enjoys working outside- placing a vase of flowers, a disused object or even a person, in the bright daylight.
Born in Belfast, Brian Ballard trained initially at the College of Art, Belfast and then at the College of Art, Liverpool. He still lives in Belfast but spends long periods of time living and working in his house on the remote and rugged island of Inishfree, off the coast of Donegal, a beautiful, peaceful coastal spot. He describes painting as his “sanctuary” and the soulful, philosophical nature of the artist is most certainly reflected in the character of his works.
Brian’s prolific career has spanned five decades and even after all these years, he says that he still paints with the same fervent vigour and intensity. "The actual process of making a painting has almost a hint of torture- and it’s great that I still have that intensity and passion for it”. One of the advantages of such a long career is that one can see different periods and life changes affecting his artistic style- problematic periods in his life are reflected in darker, more brooding works, while some of his most colourful, uplifting paintings- rich with sunflower yellows, sky blues and vermillion- were produced during the childhood years of his children. He works with satin oil paint in extremely thick layers to give a rich intensity and subtle, long-lasting lustre to his colours.
Brian has received much acclaim for his work, has been featured by the BBC and the Belfast Telegraph and his paintings have been included in collections at the Royal Bank of Scotland, National Trust properties, the Ulster Museum, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Irish Intercontinental Bank and many other prestigious establishments.