|Thomas Ganter, winner of the BP Portrait Award 2014|
with his winning portrait "Man with a Plaid Blanket"
oil on vanvas 1600mm x 600mm
I'm very grateful to Thomas for giving me an interview when English is not his first language - and to Neil Evans at the NPG for letting us stay on to get a quieter gallery for the Interview.
About the portrait
|Man with a plaid blanket |
by Thomas Ganter
oil on canvas 1600mm x 600mm
This is what the judges thought about it
Judges’ comments - Man with a Plaid Blanket
‘All the judges were struck by the intensity of the sitter’s gaze and how every texture and surface was rendered in intricate detail - from the icon-like gold chain fence to the rose in the crumpled paper cup’.
This is what Thomas had to say
"Most of my canvases try to capture to beauty of visual appearances while including a message, whether it's the impact of globalisation or the social inequality."His aim it to get us to reframe how we see the world. His prizewinning portrait does just that. He invites us to consider the juxtaposition of wealth and poverty and the worth of the ordinary human being.
It is a complete original. It starts from him seeing a homeless man.......
‘After being in a museum, I saw a homeless man and was stunned by a similarity: the clothes, the pose, and other details resembled what I just saw in various paintings. However, this time I was looking at a homeless person wrapped in a blanket and not at the painting of a saint or noble in their elaborate garment. By portraying a homeless man in a manner reserved for nobles or saints, I tried to emphasise that everyone deserves respect and care. Human dignity shouldn’t be relative or dependent on socio-economic status’.The museum he had been visiting on a rainy afternoon was The Städel. One of the most important collections of Old Master paintings can be seen in the art museum called the Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie in Frankfurt am Main. This includes masterpieces by Dürer, Grünewald, Holbein, and Elsheimer, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Brueghel, Rubens, Mantegna, Botticelli, Tiepolo and Batoni, Poussin and Chardin - see examples on the website. I'm left wondering whether the Altar retable 'Mio da Siena' was an important influence. A pointer for those submitting in future years - do take a look at the very many ways in which people have been portrayed in days long gone. There is rarely anything completely new but there is certainly an awful lot to learn from.
Thomas spent two months working out his ideas and how to represent them in terms of visual language on the canvas. Three artists he has identified as influential to that process are Velazquez, Hans Holbein and Jan van Eyck. He then spent three months painting the portrait.
His model for the work was a local homeless man called Karel Strnad who earned money by washing car windows.
|The face of Man with a Plaid Blanket by Thomas Ganter|
This is what I had to say about it when the works were shortlisted. Bear in mind I had the tremendous benefit of having seen the high resolution photos of each work.
My gut says Ganter will win. There's something very penetrating and yet enduring about that portrait and themes it raises. Plus I've never ever seen another painting like it in the BP and originality counts for a lot.Which means I'm officially very please to have yet again spotted the winner! I must do a countback sometime to work out my strike rate!
About Thomas GanterThomas works in the art business - but his business is illustration. He cofounded Kawon, an animation and illustration agency in 2001. It has a seriously impressive website showcasing their work - but it's a very different sort of work to this award-winning portrait.
His illustration work helps him with his painting
"Being an illustrator helps my by the daily exercise of drawing, painting and thinking in concepts"He was born in 1974 in Limburg - so 40 this year - and as you can hear in the film he heard his work had been selected the day before his 40th birthday.
Thomas studied illustration at the University of Applied Sciences Wiesbaden, Germany and in 2001 got a Diploma: Trailer Animation and Character Expressions. Thomas also used to hold a Lectureship for Life Drawing and elementary drawing.
He refers to his painting as a passion and it's one which also allows him to follow his own ideas rather than those relating to his clients' needs or projects.
Painting might not be what he does full time but he certainly put a lot of thought and effort into this painting.
I liked the idea that he continued to develop his techniques when his first submissions did not succeed. It's a message which should bring hope to those who have submitted in the past and are thinking about submitting again in the future.
TOMORROW - I'll be posting video interviews with the second and third prizewinners - Richard Twose and David Jon Kassan - and after that it's my video review of the exhibition and then it's on to the BP Travel Award!
- The Guardian - Thomas Ganter wins BP portrait prize with painting of homeless German man
- The Independent - BP Portrait Award: Chance meeting with homeless man leads to £30,000 portrait prize
- The Telegraph - BP Portrait Award 2014, National Portrait Gallery, review: 'satisfying'
I've been covering the BP Portrait Award for some years and have an extensive archive of posts relating to previous competitions which I know are much studied by those contemplating an entry!
BP Portrait Award - Shortlisted artists on Making A Mark:
- BP Portrait Award 2013 - The Shortlist 23 April 2013
- BP Portrait Award 2012 - The Shortlist 05 Apr 2012
- BP Portrait Award 2011 Shortlist 18 Apr 2011
- BP Portrait Award 2010 - Shortlist announced 28 Apr 2010
- BP Portrait Award 2009 - the shortlist 27 May 2009
- BP Portrait Award shortlist announced - a woman will win! 25 Apr 2008
BP Portrait award 2014
BP Portrait Award 2013
- BP Portrait Award 2013: Call for Entries The competition is open to all artists living anywhere in the world who are aged 18 and over on 1st January 2013.
- BP Portrait Award 2013 - Selected Artists and Statistics - list of selected portraits / exhibiting artists for the 2012 Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.
- BP Portrait Award 2013 - The Shortlist - identifies those shortlisted. See if you can guess which work won before reading my review post.
- Susanne de Toit wins £30,000 BP Portrait Award 2013 - BP Portrait Award 2012 Prizewinners
- BP Portrait Exhibition 2013 - Video & Review - A Makingamark Video of a walk around the BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2013 at the National Portrait Gallery
- Sophie Ploeg wins BP Travel Award 2013 - information for those interested in the Travel Award
- Carl Randall's Japan - the best BP Travel Award Exhibition ever!
BP Portrait Award 2012
- Call for Entries: BP Portrait Award 2012 11 Dec 2011
- BP Portrait Award 2012 - 55 Selected Artists 30 May 2012
- Aleah Chapin wins £25,000 BP Portrait Award 2012 19 Jun 2012
- BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012 (Part 1) 20 Jun 2012
- BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012 (Part 2) 21 Jun 2012
- Video of BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012 23 Jun 2012
BP Portrait Award 2011
- BP Portrait Award 2011 Shortlist - identifies shortlisted entries and artists. See if you can guess which work won before reading my review post.
- BP Portrait Award 2011: links to Selected Artists - artists selected for the exhibition in 2011
- Review: BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2011- my review of the exhibition (later than usual)
- BP Travel Awards: 2010 (Paul Beel) and 2011 (Jo Fraser) - information for those interested in the Travel Award
- BP Portrait Award 2011: People's Favourite & Statistics - this is the post in which I analysed last year's entry statistics
- BP Portrait Award 2010 - Shortlist announced)
- BP Portrait Award 2010: List of Exhibitors and Brian Sewell and
- Daphne Todd wins BP Portrait Award 2010
- Two American Artists win BP Portrait Prizes
- BP Portrait Award: Michael Gaskell's unparalled record
- a video of the exhibition see Video - BP Portrait Exhibition 2010 opens today
BP Portrait Award 2009
- BP Portrait Tour & Portrait of the Nation (24 Sep 2009)
- Sue Rubira makes her mark on BP Portrait (18 Jun 2009)
- Exhibition review: BP Portrait Award (18 Jun 2009)
- Peter Monkman wins first prize in BP Portrait Award 2009 (17 Jun 2009)
- BP Portrait Award 2009 - the shortlist (27 May 2009)
- BP Portrait Award - who enters and who gets selected (28 May 2009)
- BP Portrait Award 2009 - Call for Entries (15 Dec 2008)