Matthew Bell

Matthew was born in April 1989 in Nelspruit, a small town in Mpumalanga province in the north eastern part of South Africa and has always had a love for the bushveld in this area of the country. Nelspruit is just a 40 minute drive from the famous Kruger National Park, as well as many other well known game reserves and inspiration for his wildlife art was never far away. In August 2015 Matthew relocated to Cape Town where his hobby soon became a full time business. “A couple of years after moving to Cape Town, I started to draw more often again. I started up a Facebook page for my art which got a really good response. A few months later I took a bunch of drawings I had recently completed to a market to see if I could sell one or two of them. The response was incredible and that weekend I sold almost everything I had! I then realized that I could actually be onto something. So, a month later I quit my job that I had at the time to spend more time on my art. Four years on and my art business has gone from strength to strength, with the demand for both prints and originals increasing all the time. Also, my drawings are definitely getting better and better over time!” One doesn’t come across pencil art nearly as often as painting but pencil is the only medium Matthew was ever interested in using. “I love working with pencils and have never really considered using any other medium. My drawings are very much about the finer details and perfectly capturing my subject and all the feelings and emotion within it. With pencil, I feel I can do this by being perfectly in control, not missing a single detail.” Each drawing is ‘constructed’ using many layers of pencil, whether colour or graphite. These normally start with the lightest colours, working into darker layers as the drawing progresses. A slightly textured paper, Fabriano Academia 200gram, is what he uses for the original drawings This helps to make the layering more effective. Almost as important as the actual subject in Matthew’s artwork, is the blank space surrounding it. This places all the focus on the subject and creates an impact unique to Matthew’s work.