Meet The Artist: Gabrielle Dalsan

Gabrielle Dalsan

“I study the effects of listening to music whilst painting and how music influences the emotion within the paintings. After learning a piano piece, I like to paint it, to materialise the sounds I hear into colours and textures.”

Gabrielle is one of eight artists working on the Summer 2020 Collaborator’s Project, a project that aims to bring like-minded artists together to create works centred around the theme of isolation. Works will be exhibited at the end of August and you can view a list of all artists involved on The Collaborator’s Project page.

Dalsan is a musician and painter based in South London. Her artwork ranges from large scale oil portraiture to intimate life drawing sketches and Turner-esque landscape pieces. Gabrielle uses her art to capture the simple, intimate and emotional aspects of everyday life. From an early age, she had an interest in sketching and considers herself a self-taught artist as her passion began organically as a past-time hobby.

Oil Paintings

Oil paints are one of Gabrielle’s main mediums and her discovery of oils opened up a new world of artistic possibilities. Inspired by the likes of Rembrandt and Turner, Gabrielle developed a style that was intense, dark and more emotionally complex in contrast to her drawings in early years.

“The ritual of gathering the brushes, oils, turpentine, and canvases made the experience of painting all the more special. Artists such as Rembrandt, William Turner, Mark Demsteader and Ron Hicks resonated with me hugely and I quickly developed a darker, more intense style.

‘LUCY’ – capturing the sadness within my friend at the time. However, painting her in a bold and proud way to show the joy I feel around her. This piece is large scale, with the lighting inspired by William Turner.

Life Drawings

After exploring oil painting, Gabrielle turned to life drawing as a way to further develop her skills. She began attending life drawing classes out of curiousity and quickly found the classes unlocked in her a new artistic freedom. Life drawing allowed her to appreciate a simplicity she’d previously overlooked and offered a contrast to the heavier intensity in her oil paintings.

“For me life drawing classes bring such authenticity and freedom to somebody’s art. The fear of drawing ‘the wrong line’ left me and I began to embrace quick sketches, simplicity, and intimacy within a drawing. Naturally, this led me to study Egon Schiele, Toulouse Lautrec, Klimt and Tracy Emin. My work gradually became more figurative, looking at the subtlety in a person’s expression or body language. The romanticism of my previous paintings was refined into simpler pieces.”

Currently, Gabrielle is taking commissions in her own time and ‘developing an interest in capturing relationships and the ups and downs that go with them’. We look forward to seeing her work in the future and excited to be working with her on The Collaborator’s Project.


What interested you about collaboration with other artists?

“I love the idea of creating art with someone who has what you don’t have, and visa versa. It is almost like creating the ultimate brain made up of everyone’s strengths combined! There is a thrill that comes with bouncing ideas off each other.”

How long have you been working on your craft and what inspired you to start?

“I have been working on my crafts for 11 years. As a young child I gravitated towards art and music, and it was the great support I had from family, friends and teachers that inspired me to keep going.”

How did the theme of Isolation resonate with you? Did it conjure any immediate images?

“Actually, during school I created a series called ‘the peace amongst chaos’. It showcased the moments of peaceful loneliness in the environment of a busy tube station, for example. As someone who has naturally spent a lot of time in isolation, whether that be locking myself in a piano practice room for hours each day, exercising on my own or painting in my bedroom. I spend a lot of time with my thoughts, occasionally to my detriment, and I would love to work with others to see how different people deal with isolation. I find it interesting how some people flourish in isolation and others crumble. I think this will be a fascinating project.”

Is there anything that you usually use to inspire your work?

“Simply looking at artists, photographers, musicians, films and designers instantly inspires me. However, on a deeper level, observing the people around me and my own thoughts tend to inspire me in the long term. Finding a deep connection with a place or someone is what truly inspires my work. Alongside this, I am inspired by romantic composers such as Rachmaninoff and Scriabin.”

How has the lockdown affected your work?

“Throughout lockdown I have fluctuated between doing loads of work, to doing nothing at all. It would be easy to beat myself up about this, but I remind myself to just go with how your body is feeling. I have used this lockdown to create space, especially for thinking. Going on runs or walks, connecting with nature has brought me a level of peace that I was missing before lockdown. When I have been painting or drawing, it has been relaxed and on a small scale, I suppose it represents the calm that I feel.”

If you could master any other artform, what would it be and why?

“I am torn between sculpture and filmmaking. Due to the amount of space sculpture takes up, I’ll go with film! Haha. Who doesn’t love film? It’s a beautiful combination of photography, literature, performance, music and design. To direct a film would be the ultimate artistic experience, one where I could combine all the art forms.”

You can find more of Gabrielle’s work on instagram: @gabrielledalsan_art

We look forward to seeing the work of all our artists in this seasons Collaborator’s Project. Works will be exhibited at the end of August. Follow us on instagram for more updates! CM.