An artist who got fed up and lonely in his studio decided to sit on the streets and paint market traders instead.
Brian Ballard began painting the characters he saw in St George’s Market and has now become a regular fixture in the area. He gives the paintings to the traders when they are finished.
Brian usually paints landscapes and still life, but wanted to start working on portraits. He said the colourful characters gave him inspiration for this new area of work.
He added: “I’m a regular visitor to the market, and the characters I meet here have really inspired me to turn my hand – or my brushes – to something different.
“I do most of my painting in my studio and, to be honest, it’s not much fun. It’s very lonely. This is a completely different studio, a different canvas: there is a lot more interaction – this really is bringing art to the people.
“What I’d really like to do is stage an exhibition here in St George’s Market – a show of not only my own work but that of the many talented artists who sell their work here, as well as other artists from across Belfast.”
Among his first market subjects were antiques dealer Sean Kerr and linen weaver Herman Bauer.
Brian recently had an exhibition in the Linen Hall Library as part of its Local Art by Local Artists series. He displayed portraits of Belfast poets who have an association with the Linen Hall including Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley.