Cookstown artist Kyle Barnes now showing his painted faces in London gallery

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Cookstown artist Kyle Barnes is really making a name for himself in the art world with works showing in galleries in London, Dublin and Belfast.

The 29-year-old painter, who has developed a distinctive form of portraiture that sees him layering bright colours on to hyper-realistic painted faces, now lives with his wife in Southampton.

His work has scooped him a number of awards, including the Towry prize at the National Open Art Competition and more recently the KPMG Young Artist Award and the Tyrone Guthrie Award, which has earned him a week’s residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in County Monaghan.

A fine art graduate of The University of Ulster, Kyle also studied in Limavady for his foundation degree in art and is a past pupil of Magherafelt’s Rainey Endowed School.

“I have got some work in a London gallery called the Store Street Gallery, and that has just started for me so we will have to see how that pans out,” he said, adding: “It’s been going ok so far. They had a show in the summer called body of work, so I put four paintings in there.”

As well as this Kyle said he has shown work with Gormley’s fine arts gallery in Belfast and Dublin.

Kyle Barnes in his studio

Kyle Barnes in his studio

“I have been showing with them from this year as well,” he added. “They have been doing quite a bit for me and have taken me to quite a few art fairs.”

And as for what his paintings now sell for, Kyle said he can earn around £4,000 for one piece, but added that they are “big enough” and it takes him around three weeks to complete one work.

Now he is turning his hand to figures immersed in water.

Kyle at work on one of his portraits

Kyle at work on one of his portraits