This summer we drove down to Southhampton to meet Irish artist Kyle Barnes. He welcomed us in his home studio, offered us tea and began to explain his painting process. We got shown a few of his past pieces, and two he was just wrapping up. We soon knew we were in for a treat. Kyle draws inspiration from people, their life experiences, their hardships, perseverance and ability to keep going.
His work is beautiful, we made a video to show you more, watch it and read our interview below.
People’s character inspires me, the fact that they can overcome mountains and come out the other side with a desire for life.
Why do you think art has the ability to cause emotions/reactions in people?
I think art has the ability to bring people into the present, where they forget the past for a moment or what lies ahead. It captures our full attention and inspires us to question, to search, to relate. Portraiture is particularly touching for me. As humans we spend each day conversing with other people, reading them – their emotions, their stories, relating and sharing – relationship. In the same way, a portrait demands interaction, to be read, to speak to us through the personality that has been captured. I believe that just as talking with someone face to face, we can relate to a portrait, we can read their eyes and empathize with their emotion.
What’s your faith journey been like?
I look to God for provision. As you go through a journey on the way to a goal it isn’t plain sailing from point A to point B. There are times when everything seems to happen easily, opportunities and successes fall on your lap. There are other times of setbacks, when things happen far more slowly and you have to practice patience and perseverance. If you pursue a goal and put the hard work in, my experience is that you’ll have both ups and downs. Through the journey so far I have learnt to trust God, to take a step back, and allow him to bring the outcome to fruition. I put the work in, put one foot in front of the other everyday, be as consistent as possible and trust in him for the rest.
How does God influence your work?
My experience as a Christian is that God cares for people. When Jesus was here on earth he spent time with people of all walks of life, listening, healing and teaching. Painting people gives me the opportunity to reflect and practice one of the most important things in life, relationship. This is God’s heart and I strive to mirror what I see Jesus live out.
If you could see your work hanging somewhere (dream big) where would that be?
I would love to have my work included in public collections, to hang in galleries like the National Portrait Gallery. I have been blessed this year to receive an invite to be a part of the National Self Portrait Collection of Ireland which I am honoured and very thankful for.
Consistency is key, keeping your mind focused on what you want and sticking to it