Artist Kelly creates amazing images of long-lost Ipswich pubs
PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 September 2020
Artist Kelly Will has created amazing images of bygone Ipswich pubs like the Sun Inn, the Alexandra Beer House and The Eclipse.
All three of those evocatively-named inns had closed down by the early 1920s - but you can see them in full colour, thanks to her imaginative artworks.
Kelly is fascinated by the town’s historic pub culture.
Over recent months, she has been busy creating continuous-line drawings, with watercolour washes, of the pubs we loved and lost in decades gone by.
“I have worked in pubs around the town and love the pub culture and the fact that it’s timeless,” she said.
“I have a romantic idea of people sitting in a comfortable space, in front of roaring fires. The Old Bell on Stoke Bridge was the first one I did. I think I am going to do a lot more.
The 30-year-old artist has battled health problems, and underwent critical brain surgery at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge at Christmas 2014.
After being diagnosed with a brain aneurysm when only 24, she had a four-and-a-half hour operation to save her life.
Although she has recovered well physically, the ordeal has taken its toll. She said: “I have some PTSD. Physically, my brain is fine at the moment. I still have scans.”
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Since undergoing her life-saving surgery, Kelly completed a masters degree in art at University Campus Suffolk in 2016.
Earlier this year she held her first exhibition since completing her masters, One Line Allegory, after 18 months of preparation, at the Frame Workshop and Gallery,
Many of the artworks in that exhibition were created not in pubs but in coffee shops, where Kelly loves to work.
She says on her website: “I love to people watch - as a wallflower I aim to capture the present moment from the sideline of people’s experiences.”
Kelly likes to draw people as they behave naturally - and they are often unaware of the nearby artist, although some do notice her drawing. She said individuals are not identifiable unless it is someone she knows..
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When lockdown meant she could not draw in coffee shops, Kelly decided to draw on her imagination to show how old Ipswich pubs used to look.
In some cases, there are no colour photos of long-lost pubs in existence, so her imaginative watercolours are the only colour images of these once popular inns.
Other buildings have been preserved but are no longer in use as pubs. For instance, The Running Buck is now The Key cafe, a Christian-based centre.
Kelly has more than one reason for choosing to do single-line drawings. She loves using a continuous line because of the immediacy and rawness it gives to her work, but she also started drawing in this way for other reasons.
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“I am left-handed, but I think I have got carpal tunnel - it’s not diagnosed but was being investigated before lockdown,” she said.
“So I decided to try to draw with my right hand.”
As her skill with her right hand has deepened, Kelly has now developed an amazing ambidextrous way of working.
She now often does the single line drawing with her right hand and the watercolour painting with her left hand.
To see more of Kelly’s work, follow @kellywillpaintyou on Facebook and Instagram and visit her website.
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