A 23-year-old Sussex man has gained a huge following on social media for his illustrations of contestants from a popular TV reality show, writes Jessica Reid.
Ben Gregory, from Hastings, uploaded his drawings on Instagram of cast members from ITV’s Love Island, which has attracted attention from the stars themselves.
His realistic sketches of Dr Alex George, Samira Mighty, Adam Collard, Georgia Steele and many more have received a large amount of ‘likes’ and compliments.
Dr Alex commented on his portrait, which has over 4,500 likes, saying: “Absolutely incredible, what talent! If you send it I would be more than happy to sign and send back.”
Georgia Steele also responded to the drawing of herself, saying: “Wow!!! Thank you so much babes!”
Ben has been drawing since he was nine after being inspired by his father’s artistic flare and his own interest in graffiti. The artist said: “My drawings on Instagram started to get noticed when I began to draw famous celebrities and by ‘tagging’ them in the drawings, which lead them to seeing the drawings and sharing them on their pages too. It has got me a lot of exposure.
“I picked the Love Island cast because I’ve always been a big fan of the show ever since it started. The support I got from them made me feel shocked but excited, because anyone would think that celebrities wouldn’t give you a response back because of the amounts of exposure they get. So it made me feel very grateful to them for taking the time to see my work and supporting me.”
Ben has dyslexia and dyscalculia, and admitted school was difficult, but art and encouragement from his mother – who always said he could make something of his talent – kept him going.
Ben said: “I suffer from anxiety and I am quite tense at times, so drawing is a massive help for me as it relaxes my mind and makes me excited to think about the outcome of the drawing when it’s finished.”
Ben is currently making a career out of his artwork by doing portraits for clients, and can draw people and animals. Instagram is an important online platform to help Ben highlight his work and gain a larger clientele.
To see more of Ben’s work, follow his page @bengregoryart.