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Up and coming artist to host debut exhibition in Ballymena

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

Shana Simpson smiling with inset painting of flowers.

Local up and coming artist Shana Simpson, who goes by the name Ariel Art, is hosting her first solo exhibition this week in Ballymena.

The exhibition, is taking place at The Hub in Ballymena First Ballymena Presbyterian Church on Friday evening (28 April) from 6.30pm - 9pm. The free event will showcase a variety of Shana's paintings, both abstract and impressionist pieces, and everyone is welcome to come along to meet the young artist and view her impressive work.

Painting by Shana Simpson.

A former student of Cullybackey College, 19-year-old Shana completed her A-Levels last year and chose to launch in business (Ariel Art) as a fine artist and illustrator. As well as completing a number of commissions to date she has recently completed illustrations for a children's book, set to be released soon!

The young Ballymena woman has enjoyed a passion for painting since she was a child, and her love of art began at an early age. "I would often use most of my time to sit and draw pictures," she said. "While other children would ask for new toys or games for their birthdays or Christmas, I would ask for new colouring pencils and sketch books."

Illustration by Shana Simpson
One of Shana’s digital illustrations from an upcoming children’s book release.

Shana's favourite thing to experiment with was always paint. "Even as a child, I loved learning how to recognise the textures of different types of paint and how to use them," she explained. "I then began to mix colours and soon taught myself colour theory.

"I remember thinking that if I can make the correct shades of colour then I can paint anything," she said. "I became obsessed with changing a lifeless blob of colour into a piece showcasing beauty and expression."

Much of Shana's inspiration for her work comes from the world around her. "I find that the most beautiful palette comes from the beauty of nature," she said. "For me, nature holds so much beauty that we can't always see and sometimes struggle to fully appreciate. The things such as small veins in a leaf, or the shape of the clouds in the sky are so beautiful to me."

Painting of pink and lilac flowers.

Her favourite subject to paint is flowers. "I love creating every single detail of a flower on a canvas. To me flowers represent strength, resilience, beauty, and serenity. They are one of the most beautiful parts of nature."

Although most of Shana's work evolves around the simple beauty of nature, she also paints in a style called 'abstract expressionism.'

"This particular theme and style is all about using colour, texture, and shape to express emotion," she continued. "This style of work is very powerful for me because it gives me a free space to get every emotion out and onto a piece of paper. It allows me to take control of my emotions and turn them into something beautiful."

In recent months Shana has enjoyed sharing her love of art and its ability to express emotion with a group of local young people, who she hopes will also learn to enjoy the benefits of art both for positive mental health and self-wellbeing.

Pictured (L-R) are Carly Wright and Shana.
Pictured (L-R) are Carly Wright and Shana.

Paying tribute to this young emerging talent, fellow artist Carly Wright who launched her own debut exhibition last week, commented:

"When I met Shana, I was absolutely blown away not only by her ability to paint beautiful abstract expressionism from her heart, but also her soul - that is what I picked up on first.

"She is beyond amazing - a young woman who is driven by her heart. I know Shana uses her art also as a tool to help others with the mental health; for a girl so young to be putting others before herself like this is so very inspirational to me.

Carly added:

"It’s this kind of girl that gives me hope in my own journey when I see her determined to push on as a creative, I no it’s time to get and keep trying too.

"I am so excited to be invited to Shana's own exhibition on Friday evening - I can't wait to show up for this girl. I've already seen in my heart great things for her, and wish her all the best. In this world, this kind of girl is hard to find. I am so happy to see her blossom and grow."

The Hub, First Ballymena Presbyterian Church.
Ariel Art’s debut exhibition will take place in The Hub, First Ballymena Presbyterian Church.

Shana concluded:

"I am very excited for everyone to come along and hopefully enjoy seeing my new pieces of work, along with some of my older ones.

"It will be a really relaxed evening when you can come and go as you like, with plenty of tea, coffee, and tray bakes - open to everyone and free of charge."

ARIEL ART Debut Exhibition

The Hub, First Ballymena Presbyterian Church, Meeting House Lane.

Friday 28 April | 6:30pm - 9pm


Carly Wright on Facebook - CLICK HERE


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