Captured: Rich , Rugged and Fresh. Hosted by Artistslegup

Group Exhibition by members of the Belfast Bankers studio group
Guest curator: Sally O'Dowd

‘Captured: Rich, rugged and fresh – The landscape of Ireland as depicted by three Belfast-based artists’ is a visual art exhibition of paintings and photography selected for their contemporary representation of Ireland’s landscape. Witness seaside vistas of County Wexford, irregularities of a city, and the overwhelming vividness and freshness of the colour green.  
The wilds of a raging Irish sea. The graffiti tagged walls of Belfast. A lush forest. These artistic depictions convey the experience and memory of Ireland’s built and natural environments, the human interactions of past and present, and our ever changing earthly surroundings. 
The three artists showcasing work are Esther O’Kelly, Jonny McEwen, and Neal Campbell. The exhibition has been curated by Sally O’Dowd. All four are members of Belfast Bankers. This exhibition will make public for the first time new art made in the Belfast Bankers studio this year.


Hit The East

We had an absolute blast painting the alleys of East Belfast this weekend, such a privilege to be involved and in such esteemed company as South African Artist Falko one.

Hit The East on August 5th

I will be one of the artists taking part in Hit the East, Street Art Festival.

This year as part of Eastside Arts Festival Seedhead Arts and the Community Arts Partnership are delighted to be bringing their successful street art festival Hit the North over the river and up east.

International Artists Falco (South Africa) and Dreph (London) will be joined by the cream of Northern Irish talent and will transform streets and alleyways around the Holywood Arches. Street Artists such as KVLR, DMC, Emic, Verz and Tweet will be joined by other artists from the Bank and beautiful things are sure to happen.

We’ll be based in and around the Bank at 432 Newtownads Road so call in there and we’ll tell you where everything is.

Hit the North is a project of the Community Arts Partnership who work with Seedhead Arts to deliver the project. It is made possible thanks to the support of Becks, Belfast City Council, Arts & Business, Community Relations Council and the Dept of Communities. Hit the North is also only made possible with the support of HSS, Ink Monkey, The Black Box, The Sunflower, Aether & Echo and a long list of artists and individuals.


EO'K Solo Show in Pigyard Gallery

My Solo Show is now open for 3 weeks in Pigyard Gallery Wexford. Huge thanks to the Pigyard for hosting me and to the Artist Bernadette Doolan for doing a beautiful job of officially opening the show.

To Reserve a painting please contact Trish or Tony at the Pigyard

Artists Bernadette Doolan & Esther O'Kelly

Artists Bernadette Doolan & Esther O'Kelly

Esther O'Kelly Solo Show in Wexford Town

I'm honoured to announce that artist Bernadette Doolan will be the Guest Speaker at my show, opening in Pigyard Gallery next week.

I have long been an admirer of Bernadette's beautiful paintings, her poignant and hopeful themes resonate with me. There is a delicate and fragile nature in Bernadette's work that inspires me, qualities that I aspire to.

Irish artist Bernadette Doolan, living in Wexford and winner of The best overall work by a non Academician in The Royal Ulster Academy annual exhibition. Bernadette explores the fragility of identity in the context of childhood. Working in Painting and sculpture, she approaches topics of social conscience with sensitivity and respect to explore the intangible notion of truth. Doolan acknowledges vulnerability whilst not apportioning blame. This is left to the relevant parties, as an artist her role is to bring awareness and allow the space for the individual to question.

My Show 'Amhrán Na Farraige' opens June 30th at 6.30pm,

The exhibition runs from June 30th - 21st July at The Pig Yard Gallery, Wexford. All Welcome.

Bernadette Doolan 'Doing It My Way' 40 x 30cm oil on board

Bernadette Doolan 'Doing It My Way' 40 x 30cm oil on board

Fred Festival

Action packed Saturday (10th) from 6-11pm.

I'm part of  FRAMEWERK's  ‘Fred Festival’ exhibition and happening this weekend.

Come join us after Cinecycle for a Cycling themed exhibition with aural happening from Pinner.

Expect this on heavy rotation. Hopefully we’ll get a spaceship to land out the front. 

Artists include

Victory Chimp
Martina Scott
Velo Cafe Magasin
Jonathan Brennan
Esther O'Kelly
Gio Manubrio
Elaine Taylor
Thomas Bannon
Ed Reynolds
Leo Boyd
Nick Smith


‘Amhrán Na Farraige’ An exhibition of painting by Esther O'Kelly

The idea that our coastline is shaped by the unseen forces of the wind inspires me. It makes me think of the complex beauty of nature at work, and how that  mirrors our own inner workings. This place where four seasons can be born and die in a day. I feel alive and perceptive to the wild elements that awaken me. I sense the hidden elements below the familiar skin of this place called home. I see the invisible. I see how the wind speaks to the surface of the sea, how it makes the waves and how it brings the language of the sea to life. I hear it in the dunes, along strands, whistling around buoys and rock and singing reeds.

This exhibition celebrate the natural beauty of our rugged coastline the dwelling places dotted along it and the lives lived on our shores. It seeks to ignite our curiosity and imagination, to wonder at the mystery of life, to explore what is beyond the illusion and discover the unseen reality of who we truly are. Each piece follows the raw beauty and lines of the coast, vibrant colours and forms that seek to capture a memory and evoke a sense of place. 

Through my work I try to create my home as a metaphysical space, I ground myself within this space and subsequently I've come to find home in my work.

The exhibition runs from June 30th - 21st July at The Pig Yard Gallery, Wexford.

Image by Kelly McAlllister

Image by Kelly McAlllister

Lavelle Art Gallery Clifden.

A  collection of my work is now available at The Lavelle Art Gallery in Main Street Clifden.
The Gallery has been operating since 1988. Today the gallery maintains a longstanding reputation for the promotion of fine art painting of the highest quality in the west of Ireland.

The gallery building is over two hundred years old and frequent visitors to Clifden will instantly recognise this tall bright yellow edifice. Clifden shop owners take great pride in their shop fronts which are brightly coloured and faithfully maintained. None more than the Lavelle Gallery which has been painted ‘Indian Palace yellow’ since the early 1980’s. This striking building has been in the Lavelle family for six generations. 

Deborah Watkins & Gavin Lavelle Gallery Owners

Deborah Watkins & Gavin Lavelle Gallery Owners


I have a painting in this years Catalyst Arts Members show TESTING.

The show aims to give space to explore alternative perspectives and new approaches within your practice. Catalysts want their artists to play devil’s advocate with their  usual working method, tease it, play with it, wriggle around it, blow it up and stick it back together, trick it and confront it. Without testing new ideas we run the chance of getting too comfortable and of missing that which could possibly lead to a more creative outcome. For this show members are asked to see Catalyst Arts as a testing ground for experimentation and to showcase new perspectives and possibilities within your  work.

Here is my piece, 'Squall' 50cm x 50cm Framed

Opening: 4th May 2017 6pm – 9pm

Exhibition runs: 4th – 11th May




'An alternative way to develop a building'

We The Belfast Bankers opened our new building to the public last friday (7th April); the old Ulster Bank based on the Newtownards Road, East Belfast is temporarily a space for painters, sculptors, photographers, song writers, screen printers, bee hives (!), musicians, street artist, puppet makers and much more. The event saw a great turnout, and given the recent demolition in Belfast’s artisitic Cathedral Quarter, this ‘not-for-profit’ project, is a shining example of what can be achieved with creative ideas and teamwork, instead of bulldozers.

Read Culture Hub Review of Opening Night

Photo credits Kelly McAllister & Phil Dorman

Time to Paint

Sincere thanks to everyone who came down to my Framewerk show and especially to those going home with an EO'K original, your support means everything. I'm happy to announce that I have another show coming up this July in Wexford, I'll be busy till then channelling happy summer vibes to fill the gallery space.

In the meantime you can find me here; feel free to browse my paintings, but to keep up to date with my daily practice, follow me on Instagram @estherokelly. You can also find me at work in my studio @Belfastbankers. 

Time now to get scruffy.

‘The Sea Takes Back Its Own’ An Exhibition of paintings by Esther O’Kelly

My show’s title is based on the Seanfhocal, ‘Faigheann an fharraige a cuid féin’ The phrase is meant as a warning to fishermen in particular, not to be cocky, that they don’t hold sway on the ocean and that the sea will claim or swallow up her share of seagoers, come what may.

The phrase for me has more positive connotations, I grew up by the sea and it has been a constant companion during the Ebb and Flow of my life. The sea can give solace and it can swallow you up like the Seanfhocal warns but this can be in a nurturing way. I use the concept of the sea for shelter, a place to remember and to forget. These are the emotions I try to convey in my work.

Painting is a very physical and sensual process for me, I try to keep the painting open to all possibilities, deviations and directions. Getting things wrong is often more productive than getting things right. I like working back and forth between organic and architectural elements, colours and textures that become saturated or atmospheric, marks that whisper or shout.

The Irish coastline with its mixture of buildings nestling in dramatic rural settings have a strong presence in my work. In spite of the allusion to harbour and landscape scenes there is a strong abstract element to the work. They may begin as depictions of a place from a memory but during the painting process they take on a life of their own – houses and shapes are painted over but the imprint remains visible, creating an archaeology beneath the painted surface. Colour is an integral element – fine layers of paint are built up and stripped away creating delicate colour passages and textures reminiscent of stone and peeling paint. Each piece follows the raw beauty and lines of the coast, vibrant colours and forms that seek to capture a memory and evoke a sense of place. 

Through my work I try to create my home as a metaphysical space, I ground myself within this space and subsequently I've come to find home in my work.

L-R Aileen, Esther, Gordon & Andrew O'Donohoe. Burrow Rosslare. 1983.

L-R Aileen, Esther, Gordon & Andrew O'Donohoe. Burrow Rosslare. 1983.

The Sea Takes Back Its Own. An Exhibition of Paintings by Esther O'Kelly

Framewerk invite you to an opening of work by local artist Esther O'Kelly. February 18th 2-5pm.

Esthers theme's are inspired by sealife and a long family tradition of fishermen. Each piece evokes a strong coastal connection. Drawn towards the beauty and natural forms of the coastline, Artist Esther O’Kelly creates vibrant paintings that seek to capture a memory and evoke a sense of place. 

'The majesty of our coastline inspires me, the inherent beauty of the landscape and the story it tells of inhabitants past and present and the wild, romantic windswept nature of it, I'm inspired by the rich vibrant layers of peeling paint, yellow gorse and pink sea thrift, framed against the movement of the raging sea.'

The Artist will give a brief talk as part of the opening event.

The exhibition runs from February 13th - 25th

Framewerk, 10 Upper Newtownards Road, BT4 3EL Belfast, United Kingdom

Image by:



I'm gonna need a bigger room...

'Well you're in your little room
and you're working on something good
but if it's really good
you're gonna need a bigger room
and when you're in the bigger room
you might not know what to do
you might have to think of
how you got started
sitting in your little room'

Something exciting is happening in East Belfast, and I'm going to be a part of it.


Art, Pro's & Music

On December 16th Jane-Louise Kelly will be launching her first book, 'The Treasure is Within'.
She has kindly offered to share the stage with myself and the very talented singer songwriter Mandy Bingham.

Christmas Treats and Mulled Wine Reception
RSVP to or phone us on 02895 430340
before Thursday 15th December

Whalley Fine Art, 378a Belmont Road, Belfast, BT4 2NF
On Site Carparking