Sally Whelan's figurative oil paintings, and portraits, have a strong narrative and bold composition that provoke a feeling of curiosity from the viewer.
A witty charm and well observed sense of humor blends uniquely with a hintingly dark undercurrent.
"My works tend to be oils on canvas, but i have no hard and fast rules and will utilise any number of mediums, tools and surfaces to paint on. Pieces of wood, street signs, old leather, cardboard, xrays, furniture...anything that has an interesting texture or character to it.
All the frames are repurposed too. Silk Screen printing trays, old pub signs and mirror frames turned round the wrong way.
I work from a combination of life drawing, photographs and sketches."
"I am interested in the connection between viewer and subject, the artist being the middle woman. Bodies, people, their stories, their skin, the hidden shades and depths, from the inside out, a fabric that is always changing. Never predictable, always challenging and something i feel compelled to depict."
Whelan has undergone no formal training in the land of painting, she has instead carefully tailored a life of endless travel, colourful and creative experiences, a curious mind, open heart, and a steely determination, into a self-taught education that currently spans 17 years.
A hairdresser & make up artist for the BBC and a trained wig maker by trade, Sally Whelan can always be found, some sort of brush or tool in hand, with a toothy grin and a bad back.
Whelan confesses to being a "hoarder of surfaces, textures, colours and memories" thus, painting and making has been an inevitable path for her since she was little.
She travelled extensively in her early 20's, and eventually landed in Byron Bay, Australia. She lived here for 3 years in an artistic collective making films, props, sets and experimenting with sculpture, collage, painting, murals and worrying attempts at taxidermy puppetry.
This was a place of complete artistic freedom to try new things surrounded by incredible scenic beauty and likeminded folk.
Whelan had her first solo art exhibition "Wolf & Beads" in 2010, in Byron Bay.
Moving back to the UK in 2012 she worked for the BBC and painted in her spare time.
She showed in group shows in London with other artists, before moving to Bristol, where she had her first UK solo exhibition "These Little Walls" in Stokes Croft, 2016.
Whelan works endlessly on her own body of work, as well as comssioned oil paintings for the TV and film industry, and for private collectors.
She has shown and sold her work internationally, including Australia, America, Canada, Europe and throughout the UK.
She currently lives and works from her studio in Wiltshire.
See the 'What's on' Page for current and upcoming showings of Sallys work.
"Ears for days"
oils on canvas, framed by an old silk screen tray