What's equally intriguing is the man behind the proposal - and the painting I singled out as the image for my post about the "selected artists" for the BP Portrait Award 2012 (see BP Portrait Award 2012 - 55 Selected Artists)
|Dr Carl Randall, Winner of the BP Travel Award 2012|
listening to Sir Michael Parkinson read the Award citation (see below)
© Katherine Tyrrell
Carl won for his proposal to travel along the Nakasendo Highway between Tokyo to Kyoto in the footsteps of Japanese woodblock print artist Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858). On route he will record the people, their livelihoods and the landscape as finds them today in contrast to what was portrayed by Hiroshige. Carl’s final work will consist of a series of small-scale portraits and they will be displayed in the BP Portrait Award 2013 exhibition.The BP Travel Award aims to provide the winning artist with an opportunity to experience working in a different environment, in Britain or abroad. The intention is that the award should fund a project related to portraiture.
Carl Randall's work will be shown as part of the BP Portrait Award 2013 exhibition and tour in 2012-13.
A repeat of Hiroshige's journey
I think I'm correct in saying that Carl intends to switch the route of his journey from the Nakasendo Highway to the Tokaido Road. Both are part of the Five Routes from Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto
By Hobe / Holger Behr (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
I've always loved the idea of the series of paintings associated with travelling along a road.
I'm very intrigued by the notion that somebody is going to repeat the journey made by Hiroshige in his landmark series "Fifty-Three Stages of the Tokaido Road" which depict the landscape and scenes along the old imperial highway from Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto. (If you'd like to find out more about Hiroshige try my compendium website About Hiroshige - Famous Japanese Printmaker)
I asked him how long he intends to go for and how many portraits he hopes to complete. Carl told me he expects to go for about six months.
Rather than focusing on the landscape, Carl said he intends to focus on the people he finds en route but will also include their local environment. It's his habit since living in Japan to create drawings and paintings which combine people and places – figure compositions depicting the human figure within everyday urban Japanese environments. He is, if you like working in the reportage tradition, documenting what he sees through the eyes of an artist who is not a native of the country
En route he will be taking photos and making sketches and studies. Given that his models are to be found along his route, he will be doing quick studies only while travelling. He expects his studies of his subjects will last no longer than 2-3 hours. Carl told me that he can paint very fast! He will then bring the material found on his journey back to his studio. He's expecting the project will result in 4 to 5 large portraits and maybe 10 supporting smaller images.
I'm guessing they're going to be somewhat like his 2004 painting of Mr and Mrs Kawakami and the Rice Fields of Hiroshima and/or his recent drawings of Hiroshima survivors. What I am confident about is that most of his work will be monochrome - if his past work is anything to go by.
Carl was selected to be artist in residence in Hiroshima City (to meet and make portraits of survivors of the Atomic Bomb) and has recently exhibited 'Hibakusha Portraits', a series of six drawings of survivors of the atomic bomb made in Hiroshima Japan, at The Royal Society of Portrait Painters annual exhibition, the Mall Galleries, London. 3 - 18 May.
(survivors of the Atomic Bomb, Hiroshima
ink and pencil
© Carl Randall
|Carl Randall with Mr Kitazawa's Noodle Bar, Tokyo|
Oil on canvas, 161.5 x 96.5 cm
© Carl Randall
It won't be the first time Carl has travelled to Japan. He has lived in Tokyo for the last eight years - since 2003.
Nor is it the first time he's won a major award for painting (see a list of his awards).
Carl originally studied for a BA Honours Degree in Fine Art (Painting) at the Slade School Of Fine Art (1995-99) in London. He won several awards while at the Slade including:
- twice winning a prize in The William Coldstream Painting Competition (previous winners include such acclaimed British artists as Stanley Spencer, Augustus John and Paula Rego),
- the £15,000 1st prize in the 1998 Singer & Friedlander/Sunday Times Watercolur Competition Exhibition which had over 1,200 entries.
- in 1999 he won one of the six Duveen Travel scholarships (£1.500) awarded by the Slade and used it to travel to Italy and Prague
- in 2002, he won the The Prince of Wales Drawing Studio Landscape Painting Expedition which involved a two week landscape trip, staying at the Forbes Chateau de Balleroy in Normandy, France.
In 2003 he became a Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation Scholar. This provided a 20-month scholarship to continue his art career in Tokyo, Japan.
At the end of this, he pursued his postgraduate education at the Tokyo University of Fine Arts, gaining a Masters Degree in Oil Painting and, for the last three years, working towards his Doctorate in Fine Art. Tokyo University of Fine Arts, Japan. During this time he was awarded the 2011 Nomura Painting Prize – and one of his recent works was bought for the permanent collection of Tokyo Geidai Art Museum.