Upfest 2017 – Gary Iles – the artist who went from his local library to New York in a year.

Bristol contemporary artist Gary Iles uses a mixture of airbrush and brushes with acrylics and inks, which gives uniqueness to his work.  Taking his inspiration from everyday life and emotions, he says his mind is constantly filled with ideas, from images he sees and emotions he feels. Painting on walls, paper, canvas and even a surf board he certainly gets his work out there.



Can you tell me about how you got into art

I guess I have always been interested in art. I began working in the glazing industry when I was 15 and started learning the process of leaded lights and stained glass, later in life going to Bristol art school to study contemporary stained glass. Being a surfer I started painting surf art on glass and did a few small shows.

An artist at one of the shows said,” you should start painting on canvas “ so I did and loved it ! My first painting is now with a collector in Australia !


I then discovered the airbrush and “WOW” how cool was that. It changed my direction and helped improve my skills and style so much.

In 2012 I went from doing a local solo show at Yate Library to exhibiting in Chelsea New York. Having been made redundant later that year, I decided to branch out as a professional and haven’t looked back since.

Working from my small studio in the Beaufort Hunt pub in Chipping Sodbury, most of my work is through commissions, canvases, murals and T-shirts. In the summer people can have a beer in the pubs secret garden where my studio is located and sit and watch me paint !

Influences on your work

I guess from the old masters such as Carravagio with the chiaroscuro shading techniques, I sometimes think of a title first, which will then influence what I paint.

Bad Hare!!! Day


Can you tell me about your previous exhibitions

My first Exhibition was with Agora Gallery in New York in 2013, I also donate a small piece to an exhibition called Surprise which is in Athens most years, all proceeds go to the homeless of Athens.

the thinker
The Thinker

I also exhibit on the South Bank London with “Exhibit Here” most years. Also at “It’s all 2 much Gallery” in Bristol.


What do other artists say about your art

It’s crap…lol, I do have a few paintings up in The Ropewalk Pub, Bedminster, Bristol which is run by a local artist (Bird) so to have paintings along side some of the best artists in Bristol is pretty cool.

I did get invited and painted on Sky Arts, landscape artist of the year! T.K Maxx also chose six of my paintings for prints to sell in their stores!


What is important to you about your art?

To try and make it thought provoking visually, also with the title, and to focus 100% to bring the painting to life.

There’s a little bit of my soul in everything I paint, I just hope this shows in my work.

Tears of lonliness



Can you tell me something about what you will be doing at Upfest?

It’s going to be thought provoking also maybe a little dark! with a bit of Bristol landscape incorporated.

What are you looking forward to about Upfest ?

This will be my first live festival (so pretty nervous) looking forward to all of it, the atmosphere of the event, seeing other artists at work and hopefully having a great few days painting.


Website                 Facebook      Artfinder      Saatchi Art          Upfest profile

See Gary Isles’ work at North Street Green

Upfest Saturday 29, Sunday 30 Monday 31 July 2017

Upfest Festival Map



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