Blog, Exhibitions

The BP Portrait Award 2019 at the National Portrait Gallery London

The winner of the BP Portrait Award 2019 was announced this week at the National Portrait Gallery, London. The exhibition is now open for the public to view until Sunday 20 October 2019. 

The Poet by Tina Orsouc Dalessio

2019 marks the Portrait Award’s 40th year at the National Portrait Gallery and 30th year of sponsorship by BP. The BP Portrait Award, one of the most important platforms for portrait painters, has a first prize of £35,000, making it one of the largest for any global arts competition. This highly successful annual event is aimed at encouraging artists over the age of eighteen to focus upon, and develop, the theme of portraiture in their work.

As I write this I am very aware of the opposition to BP sponsoring the Portrait award. Despite the controversy the work is an incredible standard and the show is worth visiting. This year is particularly good as the work depicts people from all walks of life different ages cultures and ethnicity.

Arcus by Brendan H Johnston 2018

“There should be no role for an oil company in the artistic decisions of any cultural organization, and especially not in determining the winner of the world’s leading portrait award.” wrote the award’s judge, artist Gary Hume in a letter published with the group Culture Unstained. “This is the 30th year of BP sponsoring the Portrait Award, and I would argue that 30 years is enough. As the impacts of climate change become increasingly apparent, the Gallery will look more and more out of step by hosting an oil-branded art prize.”
This highly successful annual event is aimed at encouraging artists over the age of eighteen to focus upon, and develop, the theme of portraiture in their work.

Smoke Break by Ola Sarri 2018

The first prize was won by Brighton based artist, Charlie Schaffer, for Imara in her Winter Coat. This is a portrait of a close friend of the artist. It was selected from 2,538 submissions from 84 countries. The judges admired the mannerist style of this portrait, which has a strong sense of a living presence in Schaffer’s composition. The judges went on to say, ‘the skilful depiction of a combination of several different textures including faux-fur, hair and skin are revealed by prolonged looking and together these produce an image that is traditional, but clearly contemporary.’ 

Originally from London, Schaffer studied at Central Saint Martins before graduating with a degree in Fine Art from the University of Brighton in 2014. He has gone on to win the Brian Botting Prize ‘for an outstanding representation of the human figure’ three times.

Schaffer’s portrait Imara in her Winter Coat portrays Imara, an English Literature student he met after moving permanently to Brighton. Schaffer said: “She immediately struck me as someone who is uncompromisingly open and who wants to learn about anything and everything.” Sittings for the portrait took place over four months, with Imara posing in her warmest winter coat to withstand the studio’s cold conditions. Schaffer set out to paint only Imara’s face, but subsequently added the coat after being inspired by Titian’s Portrait of Girolamo Fracastoro in the National Gallery, London, with its pyramidal composition and the subject’s similar attire

Sandi Toksvig presented Charlie Schaffer with £35,000 and a commission, at the National Portrait Gallery Trustees’ discretion, worth £7,000 (agreed between the National Portrait Gallery and the artist).

Born in London in 1992, Schaffer studied at Central Saint Martins and then the University of Brighton where he graduated in 2014 with a degree in Fine Art. This is the first time he has been selected for the BP Portrait Award exhibition. Schaffer’s practice is mainly concerned with the act of painting, and how the process that allows the painter and sitter to spend time with one another forms unique and intense relationships.

Second prize winner The Crown by Carl-Martin Sandvold

The second prize of £12,000 went to Norwegian painter, Carl-Martin Sandvold, for The Crown, a self-portrait in existential thought. The judges were particularly impressed by the assured handling of paint, and keen observation, creating a portrait that had made a memorable impression, and lingered in the mind. 

Artist Frank Bowling by Tedi Lena 2019

The third prize of £10,000 went to Italian artist, Massimiliano Pironti, for Quo Vadis?, a portrait of his maternal grandmother, Vincenza, a former miller and factory worker now aged ninety-five. The judges were captivated by the excellent depiction of the subject, in particular the sitter’s hands in contrast with the surrounding textures including rubber, tiles and curtains. 

Third prize winner Quo Vadis? by Massimiliano Pironti 2018

The BP Young Artist Award of £9,000 for the work of a selected entrant aged between 18 and 30 has been won by 30 year-old Brighton based artist Emma Hopkins for Sophie and Carla, a portrait that depicts the photographer Sophie Mayanne and her pet dog. The judges liked the way negative space had been used in the portrait, and how the artist had refreshed the traditional depiction of the nude with an interesting mutual gaze between the artist and sitter. Emma Hopkins was born in Brighton in 1989 and turned to portrait painting after graduating with a degree in Make-up and Prosthetics for Performance from the University of the Arts, London. Self-taught, Hopkins first exhibited her work in a staff show at the Chelsea Arts Club while working behind the bar, now she is a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. Hopkins’ expertise has fed directly into her painting, which focuses almost exclusively on nude portraits and studies of human flesh. 

BP Young Artist Award Sophie and Carla by Emma Hopkins 2019

Hopkins’ portrait Sophie and Carla depicts the photographer Sophie Mayanne and her pet dog Carla. Mayanne is known for Behind the Scars, a photography project about people’s scars and the stories behind them. It is an interest that Hopkins shares, she says: “I want to understand as much as I can about what it means to be human. We are not just the clothed person we present to the world. We are the mind and body that we inhabit.”

The winner of the BP Travel Award 2019, an annual prize to enable artists to work in a different environment on a project related to portraiture, was Manu Kaur Saluja for her proposal to travel to the Golden Temple at Amritsar, India. Saluja intends to make portraits of the men and women from all walks of life who volunteer to work in the temple kitchens that operate year-round, providing meals to over 50,000 people free of charge, every day. The prize of £8,000 is open to applications from any of this year’s BP Portrait Award-exhibited artists, except the prize-winners. 

Z Hany U by Robert Seidel

The winner of the BP Travel Award 2018 was Robert Seidel for his proposal to travel along the route of the river Danube by train, boat and bike to connect with people and make portraits in the regions through which the river passes. His excellent  portraits work are displayed one floor up  from the BP Portrait Award 2019 exhibition.

Admission to the exhibition is free. 

Blog, Exhibitions

Installations made from recycled waste featured at Maison des Metallos during Paris Design Week

As part of Paris Design week the Maison des métallos held an exhibition of recycled art. The first exhibitor is Sophie Helene. She uses recycled plastic and netting to create her installations many of which are photographed in natural surroundings. The piece above is made from cartridge wrappings.

The work below is made from piecing together Tetrapac that have been opened up and flattened

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The work below is made from different coloured rubber gloves

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This hanging is made from the bases of drinks cans

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Dadave makes art works from recycled computer components.

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Features, Uncategorized

The Colourist

The art of colourful living  by Annie Sloan

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The Colourist is a Bookazine and is Annie Sloan‘s latest venture. The current plan is to publish bi-yearly, but don’t quote me on that.

shibori

 

For those who don’t know, a bookazine, as it says on the tin, is a cross between a book and a magazine. It looks magazine like, but is printed  on much better paper. At £9.95 it is twice the price of a magazine, but it is a periodical that you will want to keep, as you would a book.

I did wonder if The Colourist would just be a vehicle for Annie to sell more of her excellent chalk paint. The paint does feature, but in such an inspirational and interesting way it doesn’t feel like an advertorial.

After an introduction by Annie, where she  espouses her love of colour, the Bookazine is divided into sections starting with  The colour hunter. This  includes, What is new, Annie’s picks, Designer Focus, Trend watch and a competition.

There are  inspirational features on designers both  current and historic such as Cressida Bell and Joseph Frank

 

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Homes collections include Charleston Farmhouse and new modern designers such as Lucy Tiffney and Tamsyn Morgans and Dutch artist Yvon van Bergen.

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There are  travel features and most importantly Annie’s work with Oxfam in Ethiopia.

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There are quite a few How To’s and Make Over’s and a lovely give away,  a  free style stencil accompanied by step by step photographs showing how to use the stencil, to create a tile table top.

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Before I finish this review I think it is important to mention Felix Sloan who is the creative director of The Colourist and Jane Toft, the Managing Editor. Jane is very imaginative and so in touch with the zeitgeist, it was she who started Mollie Makes and The Simple Things. Their combined hard work and design flair has created something truly desirable.

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Perhaps Annie should have the final word.

“It all boils down to sharing my passion for style and colour. I want to inspire everyone to get creative!”

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Blog, book review, Book Reviews

For the creative, a fun book full of artist’s designs ‘DO IT YOURSELF’ BY THOMAS BARNTHALER

50 Projects by Designers and Artists

‘Design objects that you can make yourself? Actually it’s a contradiction in terms.’ Says Thomas Barnthaler in this inspirational book that started life as an experiment. International star designers were invited to create something that readers could make for themselves. It had to be a piece of furniture, an everyday object or something decorative. Not too difficult and not too expensive was the only requirement.

The idea of DIY was born in the twentieth century as an escape for those with a hankering for manual work, a hobby for amateurs and it also found supporters among designers. There’s a feel good factor about making things yourself, it creates meaning and gives you a sense of pride. As early as 1930’s Gerrit Rietveld, a carpenter by trade, tried to sell wooden furniture in prefabricated pieces. Perhaps this was a precursor to Ikea flat packs.

The projects in the book hark back to the origins of design, back to the workshop and the studio, where it’s all about hands-on activity and improvisation. They celebrate simple but effective ideas. Most of them can be modified, personalized and changed as desired. So the ‘maker’, becomes a designer or innovator in his or her own right. Each project opens with a small biography of its designer, a description of the object and a full colour photo. There are step-by-step instructions, illustrations and even images of the tools and materials needed to make the item.

There are way too many designers and projects to pick out just one or two examples, however these two are my favourites. Check out the book and find yours, if you are a maker you will certainly find something that you want to make in this book.

Do it yourself by Thomas Barnthaler published by Phaidon £19.95

http://uk.phaidon.com