Rebecca Ivatts was born in Cambridge, UK in 1972. She loved colour and drawing from an early age and grew up surrounded by the powerful life drawings of her artist godfather.
At school, Rebecca showed a prodigious talent for art and her parents were told "everything she touches turns to gold." Despite this, her (conservative) teachers were sceptical about art education in the 1990s and urged Rebecca to study Modern Languages at Oxford University instead. During her time at Brasenose College, she continued drawing at the Ruskin School of Art and, during her year abroad, at Bellas Artes, Granada university, Spain. In Paris (1995) she completed a 'stage' or work placement at the Musee d'Orsay where she admired the works of Van Gogh, Cezanne, Millet and Courbet.
After graduating, Rebecca studied 'Objective Life Drawing and Painting' at the Slade School of Art. She combined this very academic, rigorous approach to measuring and mixing colour with the freer influence of two tutors from the Royal College of Art. To consolidate her interest in the human form she took drawing + anatomy classes at the Royal Drawing School and attended dissection classes at Guy's hospital, London.
From 2004-9, Rebecca lived in Madrid. Here, she had solo shows at Galeria Standarte and Galeria TriBeCa. She was also hand picked by Sala de Arte Van Dyck in Northern Spain as one of the six best emerging young artists in the country, and exhibited in their group show for several years consecutively. While in Madrid, Rebecca acquired a diploma in Painting Processes and Techniques at San Fernando Arts Academy. During her visits to the Prado and Reina Sofia, she was particularly inspired by El Greco, Goya, Ribera, Picasso, Ignacio Zuloaga and Antonio Saura.
After leaving Spain, Rebecca had a one-man exhibition, ‘Body and soul’ in Athens, Greece with the support of the British Council which organised roundtable talks relating to the human figure in contemporary art. Meanwhile, her ‘Fallen Angel’ triptych of figure paintings were selected by curators for display in ev+a 2010 (Ireland's own international biennale).
At this time, Rebecca brought more scientific themes into her work, attending lectures at Cambridge University on subjects such as dark matter and energy, nebulae and black holes. She would later be inspired by neuroscience, her work culminating in shows at the Wellcome Trust and British Neuroscience Festival (see Rebecca’s sci-art website).
In London, Rebecca showed work in a group exhibition at Morton Metropolis, and in a two-man show at SW1 gallery. For the latter, she produced vast, bold canvases of her sculptor godfather (John Pickering) and his arthritic hands – admired by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Director of the Serpentine Gallery. She would lecture on and exhibit these works at Tate Modern Exchange Festival in 2019.
While Charles Saatchi has expressed admiration for her work and the late Sir Jack Baer (who acquired many works for the National Gallery) said Rebecca's paintings possess "an exciting, neo-baroque energy", Spanish artist and art historian Joaquin Vaquero Turcios said “Rebecca’s work is imbued with a special blend of strength and vivacity, she will go far.”
Rebecca has sold works to a wide range of eminent individuals – from film directors to famous interior designers - and has works in private collections in the UK, USA, Spain, Greece, Italy and France.
In addition to her studio work, Rebecca has given workshops and lectures at The Guardian, Dover Arts Club, Cambridge University, The How To Academy and Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid.