Ian Rawling

British contemporary artist
Original pastels

(b.1966) Norfolk, England

A pastel artist working within the realm of contemporary realism, Ian masterfully transforms his ordinary, everyday subjects into extraordinary observations. From lovingly distressed diecast model cars to deliciously oozy cheese on toast, Ian’s work demonstrates the perfect balance of impeccable precision and intuitive imagination. Using simple compositions and a limited colour palette, Ian emphasises textures and fine details which help give the impression of reality. It is this scrupulous attention to detail and overarching vision that has made him a standout artist amongst his contemporaries.

Though Ian’s emergence as a contemporary realist painter is fairly recent, his training and experience in the arts is firmly established. Showing early promise at school, Ian first obtained his Foundation in Art and Design from Chester School of Art before earning a degree in Industrial Design from Sheffield Hallam University. During this time, he successfully supplemented his student grant by doing large-scale pavement drawings in pastels, chalk and charcoal, which proved to be a great delight to passers-by. After graduating, he successfully secured a career in art and illustration, creating and publishing greeting cards and limited edition prints for some of the most recognised names in cards and publishing, including Hallmark and De Montfort.

Today, Ian uses soft pastels and pastel pencils as well as charcoal for his work, taking deliberate care to focus on imperfections, textures and highlights. His application of various techniques is rigorous, carefully choosing his mark-making methods and surface textures to suit the desired outcome. He particularly relishes the hands-on nature of the creative process, from the early stages of photography and composition to the physical use of his fingers and outer palm for blending. Though his primary aim is to paint a realistic picture, Ian enjoys the fact that small details of his process and techniques remain and are revealed to viewers upon closer inspection.

In just a few short years as a fine artist, Ian has already achieved remarkable success. He has been a frequent exhibitor at the Pastel Society Exhibitions at the Mall Galleries, London, where he was awarded both the West Design-Faber Castell Award and the Visitors' Choice Award in 2018, and the Visitors' Choice Award again in 2019. In 2021, he was awarded membership to the Pastel Society, where he continues to capture the attention of colleagues, collectors and galleries alike.

Credit: Deanna Dawkins, Gallery Manager, York Fine Arts.