BOLD: BP Portrait Awards

By Jo Phillips


Zuzana in London by Hynek Martinec, 2013

A highlight of the annual art calender, the National Portrait Gallery holds it’s prestigious BP Portrait Award over the summer. The awards showcase fifty five (whittled down from thousands) of the most fresh, exciting and innovative portraits from artists around the world.


The Shadow of Life by Lucy Jones, 2013

Throughout the years the awards have show cased more and more experimental portraiture, from personal works to famous faces, from the old to the young and from full length figures to intimate close ups.

Now in it’s thirty fourth year, and as astounding as ever, the BP Portrait awards is amongst the most prestigious art competitions in the world.


Heterochrome – Fraser & his Self-portrait by Greg Kapka, 2013

We spoke to self taught artist Greg Kapka (right), who painted his friend Fraser, a student at the Princes Drawing School. Kapka cleverly included Fraser’s own self portrait, and the train ticket from Lincoln to London which enabled Kapka to submit his work to the BP portrait award.


Aureta Thomollari at Fashion Week – NYC by Vincent Giarrano, 2013

American portrait artist Vincent Giarrano came across the fashion blog Aureta’s blog and was astounded by Aureta’s complete obsession and infatuation with fashion and believed she would make the perfect subject for a portrait. Giarrano creates a piece that mixes traditional method with a very contemporary subject, almost a fashion illustration and an insight into the not so glamorous world of fashion.

The exhibition as always is enlightening, and shows that portraiture and the medium of paint are still very much alive in our digital age of photography and graphics, and perhaps exude more meaning, awkwardness and truth than a photographic portait.

Head to the National Gallery to see all of the winners.

20th June – 15th September, Admission free. More information here

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