Belfast Telegraph

Reviewers singing the praises of Northern Ireland artist’s portrait of Ed Sheeran

Singing star Ed Sheeran with his portrait painted by NI artist Colin Davidson
Singing star Ed Sheeran with his portrait painted by NI artist Colin Davidson
Ivan Little

By Ivan Little

A new headline-grabbing exhibition about the life of Ed Sheeran which has just opened in his hometown of Ipswich in England is dominated by portraits of the superstar singer by an artist from Northern Ireland.

Colin Davidson, who is from Belfast, travelled to England to paint the star who has become one of the world's wealthiest musicians after sell-out global tours and massively popular albums.

Colin was commissioned to paint Ed five years ago after meeting the musician's father John, an art curator who organised the exhibition tracing his son's life and career at the Wolsey gallery which is housed in a Tudor mansion.

Ed sat for Colin at his home in Suffolk because the artist wanted him to be relaxed.

Colin said: "I didn't want it to be another publicity event. I was with him for three hours.

"We talked as I drew him and we made a connection which was great.

"I wanted to get different sides of his personality and at one point I drew him with his eyes closed which is a lovely moment of quiet."

The Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition, which also features Ed's own drawings from his youth, his first guitars and some of the lyrics to his earliest songs - plus school reports showing that he failed music exams at college - has been the focus of coverage by newspaper and TV stations from right across the world.

Colin's larger-than-life portrait of the 28-year-old singer is flanked in the exhibition by a number of other oil studies and drawings which capture the star in a range of moods and expressions.

Reviews of the exhibition have praised Colin's work, saying he has captured Ed the man rather than Ed the musician.

NI artist Colin Davidson
NI artist Colin Davidson

Colin is one of Northern Ireland's foremost portrait artists. As well as capturing a who's who of celebrities like Liam Neeson, Kenneth Branagh, Gary Lightbody and Adrian Dunbar for the Lyric Theatre, he also painted Brad Pitt and Seamus Heaney for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

In 2015 he painted a portrait of German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the cover of TIME magazine and a year later he was commissioned by Co-Operation Ireland to paint the Queen who unveiled her portrait at Crosby Hall in London.

The Queen had seen his paintings at the Lyric Theatre where she famously shook hands with Martin McGuinness in 2012.

One of Colin's most evocative exhibitions was of 18 people who suffered loss during the Troubles and after being shown at the Ulster Museum, it transferred to Paris, Dublin and Londonderry.

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