Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 31 January 2015

Out to Lunch: From birds to bards, the wildlife painter hoping to be on song with new subject

Julian Friers is better known for his bird paintings, but has now changed his attention to portraits
Julian Friers is better known for his bird paintings, but has now changed his attention to portraits

Most of us know Julian Friers for his bird paintings –they're sought after by collectors the world-over and feature in collections in the United States, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, as well as across the UK. One of his duck paintings has even featured on a stamp.

Julian was born in Bangor into a well-known artistic family. His father Ian was a wood sculptor and Rowel Friers, his uncle, was an artist whose cartoons featured for many years in this very organ.

Julian said he always he intended to be an artist, however his specific interest in painting birds and wildlife began when his family moved from Bangor to a more rural setting.

Lately, Julian has turned his attention from wildlife to another exotic species, and it's this work which will be attracting viewers at Out To Lunch.

In Concert is an exhibition featuring key cultural champions in the music industry. More than a dozen huge paintings capture the larger than life characters who've been chosen to sit for Julian. There are portraits of Terri Hooley, Dave Fanning, Paddy Glasgow, Henry McCullough and Bronagh Gallagher.

How did he get from birds to bards? Julian has a close connection to the local music scene through his sons; Rory plays with And So I Watch You From Afar, while Ewen is a member of Axis Of.

Julian believes music has mirrored our journey here, from the dark shadows of the Troubles to a brighter present.

He was motivated to paint this series by the camaraderie and lack of rivalry which exists between many of the musical movers and shakers here.

And while the subject of each portrait is alone, together the paintings create a crowd.

In Concert is in The Green Room at the Black Box. I wonder if there'll be any music at it?

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