Colourful characters make a splash debut

William Loveday's debut exhibition 'Face Disarray' is now showing at The Drill Hall Studio.

Emerging artist and first-time exhibitor William Loveday made a splash debut with the opening of Face Disarray at The Drill Hall Studio recently.

William’s collection of 15 portraits – all drawn from his mental catalogue of noses, chins, cheeks and eyes – blends a Picasso-esque style with something more youthful, more tropical and more uniquely William Loveday.

William says he first started experimenting with his colourfully contoured characters while still studying at Ryan Catholic College a few years ago.

“We started fusing all the different techniques and mediums and worked on portraits for a bit,” recalls William of his school days.

“I tried to do realism, but I didn’t really like it that much so I started adding colours that clearly didn’t belong there and felt like I could really work that into the painting.

“This exhibition is a continuation of that, only I’ve used more bold colours – sharp blues, yellows and oranges with high contrast.”

William says he’s also forgone reference images or real-life subjects, instead creating faces from his imagination with a veritable pick-and-mix of features that he’s banked in his memory.

“I’ve always just looked at faces and gone ‘OK, I kind of like the way their face looks, I’ll keep that in the back of my mind’. It might be a how their nose is, or how their chin is, or the spacing of the cheek to the eye and then the brows … There’s lots of subtleties to the face and the various shapes of eyes and noses.”

Face Disarray came about in a somewhat whirlwind fashion. William had been taking art classes under Carole Howlett at the Drill Hall and sought her opinion on his work. Carole encouraged him to meet with the Gallery owner Sue Tilley, who placed three of William’s pieces in the gallery and set his sights on a solo exhibition. In less than 12 months, William had gone from an artist starting out, to selling his first piece through the gallery, developing enough work for a solo exhibition, and selling five of the 15 works on opening night.

“Now that it’s framed and it’s in a gallery, it feels like a piece of art rather than just a sketch or drawing I’ve done at home”

William said he hadn’t had many expectations for his exhibition’s launch and was thrilled by the response.

“I was just happy that my friends were there, and some people I’d never met before had come in to see it,” he said.  “Then when people started buying toward the end of the night, I thought ‘Oh this is good!’

“This is my first time for any of this and it’s all happened very fast.”

William is now planning to further explore a new style that emerged in the final three pieces he created for Face Disarray, as well as continuing to experiment with oil painting, as he takes his Arts practice more seriously as a result of the experience.

“This is the first time I’ve had what I would consider a finished piece of art. Now that it’s framed and it’s in a gallery, it feels like a piece of art rather than just a sketch or drawing I’ve done at home. That’s really changed how I see my work.”

Catch Face Disarray at The Drill Hall Studio until 24 March 2021. Learn more about William Loveday at

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