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IN CONVERSATION WITH ARTIST LORNA BENT

By Emily Fitzgibbons

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IN CONVERSATION WITH ARTIST LORNA BENT

Lorna began painting at an early age, and at the age of 17 attended a UK college and studied Art & Design.

From there she grew passionate for life drawing and developed her painting skills and loose style, before studying photography. Lorna’s noir style embraces life paintings and large murals and cites photographer Helmut Newton as a source of inspiration, with her work previously exhibited in galleries across the UK including Leeds, Manchester & Liverpool.

lorna bent

It was during the pandemic in March 2020, after a long period of over 20 years of not painting, Lorna decided to pick up her brushes once again and began to create a series of life drawings and paintings which she displayed on social media. Within weeks she had been commissioned to produce a number of pieces for all kinds of personal and commercial uses. One of her pieces has been exhibited in Venice and her art has been showcased across numerous magazines and websites.

Her portfolio is growing week by week, as is her art. Amazingly, Lorna works from her home bathroom – which she converted into a studio over the last year.

We spoke to Lorna to hear her story:

“I have been painting and creating from a young age, spending endless hours drawing and sketching as a young teenager. My early influences were surrealism and contemporary art. The blend of the unconscious and reality was really something that interested me and made me want to pursue a career. I went to study Art & Design at college and later studied photography. My passion for the Avant-Garde movement continued, and I found my influences such as is Man Ray and Helmet Newton. Their voyeuristic, provocative black and dark style really struck a chord. Having exhibitions based around the UK was an exciting time. My children were born, the creativity took a back-seat and it was only during lockdown  that I again had time to reflect and start to be creative again. Starting from where I left off years earlier, I picked up my brushes and started to create some small and personal pieces. I started sharing my work on social media and from there the response has been truly amazing.

Being away from creativity and painting I was surprised how much of soon came back and although I was a little rusty, it’s amazing how you don’t ever lose the skills. I love the feeling to be able to escape and find it a cathartic experience. I have turned my bathroom into my working studio as it was being renovated, so I just used the space, which is probably the most unusual setting for my work but it does work! I would say my ritual is to listen to music, I find it is a great inspiration for my emotions and thought process, both before and whilst I paint.

Life drawing is central to my work and I have been recently taking part in further life drawing classes around Manchester to expand my techniques. I suppose that looking back I have always appreciated the female art aspect and illustrating beauty through different shapes and forms. Even my earliest portfolios going back to my teens show the beginnings of this, and early photography projects included female fashion. I tend to paint females as I feel that it is where I can really relate and express my creativity the most, and connect to the stories and experiences behind the poses and images. For me, it’s my way of sharing those inner feelings and thoughts.

I would say some of the pieces can be super positive, though some can be quite dark and come from a place of vulnerability, fear or anxiety. It depends upon the subject and what I am trying to achieve.

I am particular proud of ‘D O L O R’, a piece of work that means so much to me and as featured in ‘The Artist Talks’ Magazine. The piece was created during a very difficult period of my life with the passing of my mother. To be featured and for a chance to explain what the work was about was really helpful to me and something I will always look back on with great appreciation.

‘R E P U D I A T E ‘ is another piece in which I am particular proud, this made its’ way to Venice in the Palazzo Albrizzi Capello to be exhibited as part of a Body Language exhibition.

There are many goals that I would love to achieve this year. I really would love to have my own solo exhibition, I have so many ideas that I would love to be acle to share.

I want to explore and practice more life drawing, maybe even delve into the male form or both combined.

My main focus is to develop as an artist and gain more skills so I am able to portray my ideas and connect with the viewer.”

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