Artist Profile : Tori Neely

Tori Neely is an artist and Primary School Teacher based in Belfast. Tori studied Fine Art at the University of Ulster and often combines artwork with teaching. Here is what Tori had to say about art, Belfast, and the lock down.  

How would you describe your art?

Through pencil, pen and watercolour I try to capture places and things that make up a personal narrative of what we call home. Drawing is at the centre of my practice but I enjoy how unpredictable watercolour can be and the happy accidents that make a piece special. 

What inspires you to create?

I’m inspired by lots of things but mostly the people and places I come across in my own life. I use drawing as a way to capture where I’ve been or places and things that hold a significance to me.

When I lived in England, I really came to appreciate how special Belfast was. I began drawing the buildings I missed and when I moved back, I continued to take inspiration from this city.

As a Primary School Teacher, I spend a lot of time working with picture books. I am fascinated by the beautiful illustrations in so many of these books and these have inspired by drawings to be more free and playful. 

What makes your art ‘yours’?

I try not to compare myself to others and to just enjoy the process of creating. I am passionate about the power of drawing as a form of communication, and I try to create artwork that is personal and can instantly communicate with the viewer. I’ve always been fascinated with small details that you only see when you really take the time to look, I really enjoy capturing these little intricate details in my drawings.  

How has the lockdown impacted your ability to work? 

I’ve been using my time at home to create more. I’ve been thinking a lot about the buildings and places we pass by every day without noticing and I’ve been taking some time to really capture the details and characters of these buildings in the hope that these artworks will encourage people to look up the next time they pass them. I would normally visit these places to take photographs and make sketches so google maps has become by new best friend. I have also started a new series called HOME where I create personalised drawings of the beautiful buildings people call ‘Home’.

You can keep up to date with Tori’s work on Instagram

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