Matthew Lyons

Portrait of a Rapper

Bankside Gallery: Rising Artists, Jackson's Painting Prize 2023
Acrylic, Charcoal, Oil
90 x 60 cm


“This is a portrait of the Beeston based rapper known as ‘The Kingdom Rapper’.

Benjamin was born in West Bridgford, a town south of Nottingham but moved around the city before settling in Beeston.

Benjamin has had a difficult past and credits becoming a Christian with changing his life’s direction. The ‘kingdom’ he raps about is the kingdom of God!

He uses his music to connect with people in Beeston by performing at local events, festivals and schools; as well as rehab centres, prisons, shops, cafes and street corners – anywhere where he can be among the people of Beeston, and beyond.

I use a thickly primed board to give texture to the brush strokes and sketch in charcoal, which I fix with hairspray. I often let the under-drawing show through where I like the quality of the line. I love to paint hands and was really pleased with the pose here, with Benjamin holding his thumbs together, and his interesting tattoos.”