Tuesday, 10 July 2012

BP Portrait Award

I was in London at the weekend so I popped in to the National Portrait Gallery to see this year's BP Portrait Award.
I've been to see it every year since I was 16 when I went with school for art.
Maybe one year I'll get round to entering it.

Today You Were Far Away by Ian Cumberland
This painting by Ian Cumberland was my favourite of the portraits exhibited.
It's a self portrait and has the kind of title that I like; it's suggestive of a story, and probably quite an angsty one at that. He just looks so sad!
And this guy has mad painting skills. The painting is quite large (1500x1000mm) and there's an incredible amount of detail gone in to it.

Bruised by Nathalie Beauvillain Scott
I also liked this painting by Nathalie Beauvillain Scott of her son.
He had been in a car accident and a violent attack, and the pictures in the background show him as a child, and the car involved in the attack.
It's an interesting concept to give additional information about the subject of the portrait by showing relevant images alongside them.

Self-Portrait by Jean-Paul Tibbles
What I liked about this portrait by Jean-Paul Tibbles (besides the artist's surname) was the way the eyes had been painted with really precise detail, but then the painting gets a bit rougher towards the edges. I think this helps to put the focus on the sitter's eyes to really draw in the viewer.

As part of my A level art course, a few years ago now, I did a whole project on portraiture. To get more information on the subject I emailed a bunch of the artists exhibiting in that years BP Portrait Award.
One of my favourite responses was from Morgan Penn who told me;

"-Art college taught me absolutely nothing [...] Art colleges are either obsessed with conceptual art or want you to go to Italy to study the masters (which is the kiss of death to any aspiring artist - why would you want to paint like someone did 400 years ago?) [...] Don't listen to your teachers, they don't know anything. Trust your instincts!-"

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