Portrait Artist, Elli Kerr-Smiley, captures essence and empowerment in her mesmerizing portrayal of women, reclaiming agency for her subjects.
Introducing Elli Kerr-Smiley, a remarkable portrait artist whose creative journey is a testament to the power of intuition, a flair for crafting unique compositions, and a profound exploration of the dynamic relationship between the artist, subject, and observer.
Following the completion of her MA in Creative Writing at the prestigious University of Surrey in 2016, Elli experienced an undeniable pull to revisit the pages of her long-forgotten sketchbooks. What began as a quiet passion soon blossomed into a captivating artistic odyssey. In a bold move, Elli bid farewell to her full-time job in 2021, embarking on a dedicated path as a full-time artist. Today, her artistic endeavors flourish as she occupies the role of artist-in-residence at the vibrant ‘The Base’ arts center, nestled in Greenham, Berkshire. This exceptional space not only fuels her creative expression but opens its doors to the public, offering a unique window into her artistic process. Beyond her personal artistry, Elli generously shares her expertise through engaging group and one-on-one portrait classes at ‘The Base.’ For a deeper dive into these enriching classes, one can explore the dedicated ‘Classes’ section on her website.
Central to Elli’s artistic narrative is an unwavering focus on the portrayal of women. Her work serves as a response to the historical context in which women were often depicted through the lens of the male gaze. In a transformative twist, Elli’s art reclaims agency for her subjects, who exude strength and autonomy within their portraits. Through her creations, she breathes life into the canvas, allowing her subjects’ gazes to lock with those of the viewers, sparking a dynamic visual exchange.
Within Elli’s creative dialogue, a mesmerizing interplay unfolds between the portrait, the medium of paint, and the canvas. These elements engage in a harmonious dance, intertwining and revealing glimpses of profound connections. This intricate interaction becomes a metaphorical conversation, where the portrait and the canvas collaborate to highlight and enshroud the subject. Elli’s portraits transcend mere visuals; they become intricate storytellers, with the subjects’ visages weaving narratives that extend far beyond the frame. These women, captured in a single moment, emerge as multi-dimensional beings, each harboring a rich tapestry of experiences – some concealed, others waiting to be unveiled. This approach mirrors the nuances of meaningful conversations, where unspoken words carry as much weight as those uttered.
Elli’s artistic philosophy champions the vibrancy of creativity. Her creative process unfolds organically, guided by intuition rather than a predetermined plan. With every stroke of her brush, the canvas transforms into a symphony of colors, punctuated by dashes and dots that evoke a sense of joyous celebration. Mistakes are not hidden but seamlessly integrated into her artwork, embodying the beauty of imperfection and the spontaneity of creation.
As you embark on an immersive journey through Elli Kerr-Smiley’s portfolio, you’ll encounter a realm where artistic expression, the reclamation of agency, and a joyful embrace of the unexpected intertwine. Her work transcends the boundaries of mere portraits, transforming into a vibrant tapestry of stories, a celebration of resilience, and an invitation to engage in a dialogue that traverses beyond the visual realm.
Visit her shop and purchase her incredible work here!
All photos are copyright © of Elli Kerr-Smiley. All Rights Reserved.