Life and personality jump off the page or screen with one of Vanessa Dell’s portraits. Vivid colours and an emphasis on facial features make her paintings seem more real than real, as they reflect the spirit of the subject as much as their unique look.
Based just south of London and with over two decades of illustration experience, Vanessa has always been fascinated by faces and has studied them since childhood. Then, her subjects were Bugs Bunny and Sylvester the Cat, but today her influences include Lucian Freud, Stanley Spencer, Peter Blake, Sidney Nolan and Patrick Heron.
Vanessa received a first class honours degree in Graphic Design, specialising in Illustration, from Kingston University.
Vanessa’s main medium is oils, with some coloured pencils added in. She loves the physical act of painting, the feel of the oils and the paper textures. Photoshop comes in towards the end of the process, to compose the elements and to tidy up an image.
Composition is more important to Vanessa than perfection, and her style captures the life and personality of her subject with a human feel. It’s idiosyncratic, fresh and sensitive, perhaps reflecting a little vulnerability and even awkwardness from time to time. That’s why people connect with her paintings more than they might with photographs.
Vanessa’s clients include Time Out, Rolling Stone, Slate, Waitrose Weekend, Trailer Park Inc, Kiehls, Radio Times, Elastic Creative, The Times, Smithsonian Magazine and Good Housekeeping.