Born in Stirling in 1972, Diarmuid Kelley grew up in the north of England. He studied Fine Art at Newcastle University, graduating in 1995. He was the youngest artist ever to win the prestigious Nat West Art Prize at the age of 23, in the same year, he graduated from Newcastle. He went on to study for a Masters degree at Chelsea College of Art and Design.
Kelley has a long association with Offer Waterman & Co, having had five solo-exhibitions at the gallery. His work has regularly featured in the BP Portrait Award held at the National Portrait Gallery, London, and he has recently participated in a number of other group exhibitions including The Figure, Browse & Darby, London, Hinterland, Thomas Williams, London and Illuminate, Jasmine Studios, Hammersmith, London.
Each year, Diarmuid undertakes a limited number of portrait commissions, often painted on location, which are produced in parallel to his studio work. In 2010 he was commissioned to paint Dame Anne Owers, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons, This painting is now part of the National Portrait Gallery's permanent collection.