The closing date for digital entries from artists all over the world is 2nd February 2016.
|BP Portrait 2015 - after the Awards Ceremony|
Second Prizewinner Michael Gaskell (for the 4th time!) (link is to a video interview with him)
with Peter Monkman (2009 Winner) who was one of the Judges in 2015
What this post covers
This post covers:
- 12 reasons why this is a competition worth entering - which includes details of the significan prize money
- How to enter for those who don't like the small print. I won't cover every last detail - so you still have to read ALL the conditions but sometimes it helps to have an introduction first! :)
- The Judges - plus a video of a judge explaining how the process works
- How to get selected - my suggestions for how to improve your chances of selection. Plus a video of a past winner explaining the process and how it worked for her.
- The Exhibition
- links to past posts about previous BP Portrait Award winners and exhibition reviews on this blog going back to 2007
What's different in 2016The major change this year is that the conditions and the rules now have a white background and are a lot easier to read.
For those who didn't enter last year the major change in 2015 was that postal entries are no longer accepted and the entry is process is digital.
If any of you spot anything else that has changed please leave a comment and I'll do an update.
|BP Portrait 2015: Judges's Choice for First Prize on the left |
'Annabelle and Guy' by Matan Ben Cnaan,
Winner of the BP Portrait Award 2015 Visitors' Choice on the right
'Juanito' by José Luis Corella
Photo © Katherine Tyrrell
12 great reasons to enter the BP Portrait Award 2016This is a "game changer" of a prize. It typically has a very positive impact on the careers of artists who win the top prize - for all the reasons listed below
- This is a very prestigious portrait competition. If you're a serious portrait artist you need to think seriously about entering one of the most prestigious art prizes in the world. This competition has been characterised as "the Oscars of Portraiture".
- Enhance your CV with a BP Portrait selection - this is the competition that artists boast about being selected for! Just being selected for the BP enhances an artists career.
- The status of 'selected artist' is underpinned by fierce competition. The competition attracts a lot of entries. In 2015 there was a record-breaking 2,748 entries. From these some c.300 were long-listed and just 2% of the entry - 55 portrait paintings - were selected for exhibition.
Entrance to the BP Portrait Awards Ceremony 2015
- First Prize: A cash award of £30,000, plus, at the judges’ discretion, a commission worth £5,000, to be agreed between the National Portrait Gallery and the artist.
- Second Prize: £10,000
- Third Prize: £8,000
- BP Young Artist Award: £7,000 (eligible artists are aged between 18 and 30)
- BP Travel Award 2016: £6,000
- Last year entries were received from artists in 93 countries.
- Very nearly 50% of the works selected for exhibition in 2015 came from artists living outside the UK.
- It also regularly has prizewinners from all over the world! Last year Israeli artist Matan Ben Cnaan won the BP Portrait Prize 2015.
|Banners of portraits in the exhibition|
Outside the entrance to the National Portrait Gallery
How to enter for those who don't like the small print
The website contains:
- The rules - it's great to see that these now presented with a white background!
- The Digital Entry / Registration Form
- a pdf document about the the digital entry process and judging process
- a helpful pdf document about how to photograph your work
- a FAQs document
Essentially there are NO CHANGES TO THE RULES and just a small increase in the fee for entry.
I recommend that anybody wanting to submit a portrait should read The 2016 Rules three times! That's because the worst mistakes you can make when entering art competitions is to
- create a work for a competition
- and then realise that it isn't eligible
- or you can't present it in the right way by a deadline.
Note in particular that works can be disqualified - even if selected for exhibition - if they have not adhered to the rules!Below is my effort at make the rules accessible. I review and revise it each year. I've split the rules up into sections relating to
- the artist
- the portrait
RULES: WHO can enter
- Artists must be aged 18 years or over as of 1 January 2016 - living anywhere in the world
RULES: The Portrait
Pay particular attention to these. I've detected much more careful scrutiny and a tightening of the application of the rules in recent years. Where rules are now being spelt out more clearly one must assume that they have been ignored in the past!!
The National Portrait Gallery reserves the right to disqualify any piece of work if the artist has not adhered to the rules, even if the work has been selected for exhibition
Each artist is limited to ONE ENTRY PER ARTIST.
The work entered
The work entered
- must be recent i.e. completed after 1 January 2015. You are required to indicate:
- the date of the first sitting
- the date the portrait was completed (Bear in mind people will tell the organisers if they've seen a portrait exhibited prior to 1 January 2015!)
- the start date needs to pre-date the completion date. (latter was new in 2012. I think this is an area where entries have been caught out in the past)
- SHOULD be a painting based on a sitting or study from life AND the human figure MUST predominate. (There's a more explicit statement on this in the FAQs which I think is new - see the quotation below)
- You need to indicate on the form whether or not you have met the sitter.
- The portrait can be a self portrait or a group portrait
"the stated date of first sitting should be before the stated date of completion"
we request that your painting is based on a sitting or study from life. We understand that you may need to work from photographs for assistance but the primary source should be from life.
- MUST be available for the entire period of the exhibition and the tour to two other venues (not yet available - but assume up until April 2017)
- must NOT have been previously submitted for consideration.
- should NOT be signed on the front. All entries must be anonymous for the purposes of judging. Consequently the judges may reject a work if they decide that this rule has been compromised.
Media and Size:
- MUST be predominantly painted in oil, tempera or acrylic (No watercolours, works on paper or pastels will be considered )
- MUST be on a stretcher or board, preferably framed and unglazed.
- MUST be
- AT LEAST 25 x 20cm (10” x 8”) unframed. Smaller works will NOT be considered.
- NO BIGGER than 244 x 244cm (96" x 96") framed (including the frame).
- Multi-part portraits - up to three parts - must comply with the size constraints for one work when installed and must come with complete instructions for installation.
The Digital Image
You are required to upload one photograph of your entire portrait. You also have the option to submit an extra photograph of a detail of the work. This may be a good opportunity to show the level of detail, the texture of the paint or a particular area of interest in the composition.
- Images must be:
- Saved in JPEG (.jpg) format
- Smaller than 3MB (3,000k)
- At least 1,080 pixels on its longest side (height for portrait format images, width for landscape format images).
- The selection process is based on the image you upload - even if it is not finished when you upload it
- You get to decide whether or not to include the frame
- You can supplement with a second photo which shows a selected crop of a detail of the painting. This is your opportunity to demonstrate technique and expertise.
The submission process
- Complete the 2016 online entry form
- upload it and the image and
- pay the registration fee (£40) to the NPG
- by 23.59 on Tuesday 2 February 2016.
- All correspondence with artists will be via email - and it's up to you to check your email!
- All entrants will be notified if their work is selected
- for the second round of judging by 27 February 2015.
- for exhibition by 1 April 2015.
- Artwork for the second round of judging needs to be delivered between Monday 14 and Friday 18 March 2016. (I suggest you check that you can get the artwork there in two weeks without breaking the bank)
- There are lots of very detailed requirements as to submission and collection of the actual painting - I've summarised some of these below but there is more and my advice is to read it all very carefully!
- All artists are responsible for the insurance of their works. In other words submit at your own risk.
- The National Portrait Gallery will NOT arrange courier collections or post works on behalf of the artist (unless they are international - I'm not sure whether Scotland and Wales count!)
- International artists should also pay particular attention to their financial liabilities (eg import duties etc) and what they are required to do. The gallery will make sure that your packaging is kept so that it can be reused when the courier /transport agent comes to collect your work. The Gallery will send the work back to you if you include pre-paid postage
- There are detailed conditions relating to copyright and publication which all entrants should read.
Artists should be aware that all works are judged on an equal and anonymous basis and that there is no segregated judging by region or country.The Judges this year are:
- Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery (Chair)
- Christopher Baker, Director, Scottish National Portrait Gallery
- Alan Hollinghurst, Writer
- Sarah Howgate, Contemporary Curator, National Portrait Gallery
- Jenny Saville, Artist
- Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts & Culture, BP
Below is a video by Competition Judge Sarah Howgate on how the work is selected. Bear in mind that this was before the introduction of the digital entry process and the judges only seeing digital images prior to producing the long list for the second round of judging (and I'll replace this when a more up to date video becomes available - I'm checking with the NPG)
How to get selected
If you are thinking about entering, let's be very clear that it's a major deal just to get selected.
It would be very presumptious of me to tell you how to get selected.
However there are things that one notices when viewing the exhibitions over the years - and as trends (and Judges) come and go. So that's why I write this section. Essentially I'm offering you the best advice I can offer - alongside the links to my posts about all the past exhibitions (see end) - based on:
- track record
- the artwork
- technical aspects which can improve
Just remember - those who win the first time they enter are few and far between - and I've got a video interview with one of them (Aleah Chapin) below
- Build up a track record of being selected for the exhibition.
- To build up a track record first you have to enter.
- The reason for developing a track record of being selected is because prizewinners (but not always the winner) very often tend to come from those who have previously been repeatedly selected for the exhibition.
- I have a short list of a few painters who I confidently expect will win prizes in this competition in the future.
- Paint for yourself and not for the Judges. People who 'copy' compositions or paintings styles which they think the Judges like might get selected but they don't often win prizes.
- Paint more than a head - demonstrate you can do commissions involving hands!
- Take a look at the recently commissioned portraits in the NPG collection. Such commissions very often have heads and upper torsos including the hands. Given that the first prize winner will be offered a commission you may well enhance your chances by demonstrating an ability to paint more than a head.
- review my past videos of the exhibitions (see my YouTube playlist for my videos of the BP Portrait and Travel Awards) to see the nature of the portraits which make it through to the final
- Last year there were 15 complete figures (although two had no face); 16 portraits of the torso - including hands; 2 portraits of the upper torso (minus hands) and
- 21 portraits of the head only i.e. 56% of the portraits included hands and torso
- Paint more than one person! I've been advocating painting more than one person as a way of standing out from the rest of the entries for a little while.
- Last year the exhibition included 11 double figure portraits (20% of the total) - and two of them were prizewinners! I'm not claiming the credit (very few portraits have included more than one person in the past) but I'm left wondering if people took my advice last year! :)
- The important point is that painting two people and setting up a narrative between them creates more than twice the opportunity to impress!
- Think very carefully about size. I did an analysis of last year's exhibition which you can see in this post BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2015 - video and analysis - it provides an in-depth analysis of three portrait factors - size, type and number.
- Enter your very best work. You need to be a good judge of the standard of your own work to know whether or not you are ready.
Technical aspects to improving your chancesHere are some suggestions about more technical aspects for getting selected - based on experience and observation:
- excellent digital images do make a difference. That's because it's impossible to be confident in the qaulity of the work if the resolution or colour are 'off'.
- The photo also needs to be an accurate and totally representative of your portrait. It's so easy to reject artwork which disappoints when seen in person compared to the photo!
- Last year I heard about painters who kept painting after they had entered and sent in the digital image of their entry. The NPG says this is fine - however the portrait will be assessed initially on the digital image submitted. Personally I wouldn't risk it and would focus on improving time management!
- Create a timetable to complete your portrait on time - the only way portraits get painted on time - and avoid a series of all nighters - is if you diarise your commitments to painting and stick to them. First of course you need to know how long a painting will take - and that only comes with experience. Planning to finish in good time means you won't make poor judgement calls under pressure. Plus you'll have enough time to get the painting photographed properly (see above).
The BP Portrait Award Exhibition
2016 ExhibitionThe BP Portrait Award 2016 Exhibition will be open to the public at the National Portrait Gallery from Thursday 23rd June to Sunday 18 September 2016 (which I make one week less compared to last year)
2015 ExhibitionYou can see the 2015 BP Portrait Award exhibition at The Scottish National Portrait Gallery (10th October 2015 − 28th February 2016) - which is earlier than last year
Want to know more about the BP Portrait Award ?For all further enquiries to the event organisers please contact:
- BP Portrait Award 2016, National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE
- Telephone: 020 7321 6699
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Office hours are 9.00 – 17.00, Monday – Friday.
Subscribe or Bookmark this blog if you want to see future blog posts about the BP Portrait Award. (for subscriptions see side column)
In the future I will publish:
- a reminder about the deadline for entries
- the list of artists selected for the exhibition
- the list of shortlisted artists
- the awards ceremony
- video interviews with the prizewinners
- a review and video of the exhibition
If you just want the videos then go to the BP Portrait and Travel Awards Playlist on my YouTube Channel
BP Portrait Award 2015
- Call for Entries:
- BP Portrait Award 2015 entry goes digital
- How to enter the £30,000 BP Portrait Award 2015 - and improve your chances of being selected
- Selected Artists:
- Selected Artists - BP Portrait Award 2015
- Brits lose out in BP Portrait Award 2015 - BP Portrait Award 2015: Analysis of the number of entries and the number of selected artists - between UK and international artists.
- Shortlist: Shortlist for £30,000 BP Portrait Award 2015 announced
- Israeli artist Matan Ben Cnaan wins BP Portrait Prize 2015 - includes names of other prizewinners
- Video Interview with Winner of the BP Portrait Award 2015 - My video interview with Matan Ben Cnaan.
- Michael Gaskell (2nd Prize BP Portrait 2015) - a video interview - the most consistent second prizewinner never to win!
- José Luis Corella wins BP Portrait Award 2015 Visitors' Choice Award
- BP Portrait 2015 - Artists with their paintings Some of the artists in the BP Portrait - with their paintings.
- Video of Exhibition: BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2015 - video and analysis - Video of BP Portrait Award 2015 Exhibition and in-depth analysis of three portrait factors - size, type and number.
BP Portrait Award 2014
- BP Portrait Award 2014 - Call for Entries A review of why and how to enter the BP Portrait Award 2014 - plus how it can benefit a portrait artist's career.
- Shortlist announced for BP Portrait Award 2014 Review of the portrait painters from Germany, UK and USA, shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award 2014.
- BP Portrait Award: From 2,500+ entries to just three artists Tonight we go from over 2,500 people who entered the BP Portrait Award 2014 to three prizewinners - and just one person who wins the top award.
- BP Portrait Award 2014 - Video of presentation to prizewinners A video of the awards ceremony for the BP Portrait Award 2014 - exhibition is at the National Portrait Gallery.
- BP Portrait Award 2014 Exhibition - review and video A video and review of the BP Portrait Award 2014 Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.
- A video interview with Thomas Ganter, Winner of the BP Portrait Award 2014 A video interview with Thomas Ganter, winner of the BP Portrait Award 2014 and notes about portrait and painter
- Richard Twose and David Jon Kassan ... Video interviews with the 2nd and 3rd prizewinners in the BP Portrait Award - Richard Twose & David Jon Kassan.
- Video - what the artist saw
BP Portrait Award 2013
- BP Portrait Award 2013: Call for Entries
- BP Portrait Award 2013 - The Shortlist
- Susanne du Toit wins £30,000 BP Portrait Award 2013
- BP Portrait Award 2013 - Selected Artists and Statistics
- BP Portrait Exhibition 2013 - Video & Review
- Sophie Ploeg wins BP Travel Award 2013
- Carl Randall's Japan - the best BP Travel Award Exhibition ever!
BP Portrait Award 2012
- Call for Entries: BP Portrait Award 2012
- BP Portrait Award 2012 - 55 Selected Artists
- BP Portrait Award 2012 - The Shortlist
- Aleah Chapin wins £25,000 BP Portrait Award 2012
- A Profile of Aleah Chapin
- Carl Randall wins BP Travel Award 2012
- Review: BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012 (Part 1) Focuses on a theory about what's important to getting selected.
BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012 (Part 2) Part 2 of a review of the BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012. Focuses on portrait paintings I like.
Video of BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012
BP Portrait Award 2011CALL FOR ENTRIES: BP Portrait Award 2011
BP Portrait Award 2011 Shortlist
BP Portrait Award 2011: links to Selected Artists
Review: BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2011
BP Travel Awards: 2010 (Paul Beel) and 2011 (Jo Fraser)
BP Portrait Award 2011: People's Favourite & Statistics
BP Portrait Award 2010
- Daphne Todd wins BP Portrait Award 2010
- Two American Artists win BP Portrait Prizes
- BP Portrait Award: Michael Gaskell's unparalled record
- BP Portrait Exhibition 2010 opens today (VIDEO)
- BP Portrait Award 2010 - Shortlist announced
- BP Portrait Award 2010: List of Exhibitors and Brian Sewell
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)
BP Portrait Award 2008
- Making a Mark: Craig Wylie wins BP Portrait Award 2008
- Making a Mark: BP Portrait Prize 2008 - exhibition opens
BP Portrait Award 2007
- Making a Mark: Paul Emsley wins BP Portrait Award (22 Jun 2007)
- View the BP Portrait Award 2007 and BP Travel Award 2006 exhibitions(15 June 2007)