In 2016, 53 artists had their portraits selected for the 2016 Annual Exhibition of the BP Portrait Award - out of 2,557 entries from 80 countries
Will you be one of those artists in 2017?
|The wall of prizewinners in 2016 - left to right First, Second and Third|
What this post covers
People who win prizes read this blog post! ;)
This post covers the Basics
- a review of the entry details
- what's different this year - the deadline is earlier! (If any of you spot anything else that has changed please leave a comment and I'll do an update.)
- The Judges - I tell you something about each Judge and give you links to find out more
- I also link (at the very end) to all my blog posts about the BP Portrait Award in the last 10 years - covering selected artists, interviews with the prizewinners and exhibition reviews - and my videos of past exhibitions.
- how to get selected - my suggestions for ways to improve your chances of selection - in terms of both your art and your approach to the competition
- reasons why this is a competition worth entering - including details of the significant prize money.
How to enter for those who don't like the small print
The website contains:
- The rules
- The Digital Entry / Registration Form
- a FAQS document about the the digital entry process and judging process
- a helpful pdf document about how to photograph your work
The most important thing to tell you is that
- the closing date has been moved and is now a week earlier!
- The closing date for entries is 26 January 2017.
- Entry forms and payment of entry fees must be completed by 23.59 on Thursday 26 January 2017.
There are no changes to the entry process or eligibility for this year’s exhibition...however they have moved the deadline for entries back a week!
The Rules provide the full and complete information for every entry.
They are complemented by The FAQs about How to Enter which focuses on:
- the digital entry
- the judging process
- your entry
We can only live in hope that at some point the competition organisers will make the rules even more readable by
- increasing the font size still more (it's online - no need to be concerned about how much paper is being used!)
- increase the line spacing - so words are more readable (i.e. the font size has increased since 2016 but the line spacing remained unchanged so the words are now even more compressed)
- and/or convert The Rules to a pdf document like the FAQs!
- create a work for a competition
- and then realise that it isn't eligible
- submit it before you realise you breached the rules eg signed it on the front!
- or you can't present it in the right way by a deadline
- and/or you're in a rush at the end and are not quite sure what you need to do - which is when mistakes get made.
Note in particular that works can be disqualified - even if selected for exhibition - if they have not adhered to the rules!
Every year I try and make the rules more accessible. I review and revise it each year. I've split the rules up into sections relating to
RULES: WHO can enter
- MUST be aged 18 years or over as of 1 January 2017
- can live anywhere in the world
Around half of those entering the competition come from non-UK countries.
RULES: The Portrait
Pay particular attention to these. Over the years they have become more refined. Where rules are now being spelt out more clearly one can only assume that they have been ignored and/or misunderstood 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
- must be recent i.e. completed AFTER 1 January 2016. 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!)
- SHOULD be a painting based on a sitting or study from life AND the human figure MUST predominate. (a more explicit statement is included in the FAQs - see below)
- You need to indicate on the form whether or not you have met the sitter.
- The sitter can't be anonymous - you need to provide their name.
- The portrait can be a self portrait or a group portrait
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.
- The form also reminds you that
the stated date of first sitting should be before the stated date of completion.....a date of completion should be entered, even if it is prospective only
- 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 2018)
- 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.
- Digital entry to the First Round is now well established for this competition as it is for others around the world. It's the only way to enter.
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).
|Clara Drummond, Winner of the £30,000 First Prize in 2016 with Jenny Saville, painter who was one of the Judges|
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)
- Sarah Howgate, Contemporary Curator, National Portrait Gallery (One of her key roles is the managing of Gallery commissions)
- Michael Landy, Artist - an ex Young British Artist (he's now 53 and married to Gillian Wearing) aka as The man who destroyed all his belongings.
Landy has used monumental installations/performances to explore political and social issues, such as the nature of consumerism, the commodification of art and the value placed on human beings in the corporate world. He is also a draughtsman, making intimate portraits of his familiars and meticulously rendered botanical drawings.
- Kirsty Wark, Broadcaster and journalist - Once voted the third most influential woman in Scotland. She increasingly pops up on the BBC fronting programmes about art and/or artists. Interestingly an article Kirsty's joint has not one reference to art.
- Camilla Hampshire, Museums Manager & Cultural Lead, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter - this is a Guardian article about her and her job. Maybe more experienced in museums than portrature?
- Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts & Culture, BP - the woman who works for the sponsor and leads the BP partnerships with various museums and art galleries. There are some that would argue that sponsor gets to support but not to judge - but this has never been the case with the BP Portrait Award.
The 2017 Exhibition - in London and on tour
The exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery opens to the public from 22 June and closes at 5pm on 24 September 2017.
It then usually tours to two other locations in the UK. (No details as yet that I can find)
Are you invited?
- Those shortlisted for prizes MUST attend the Awards Ceremony and dinner on the evening of Tuesday 20 June 2017
- Shortlisted artists are also expected to attend the Press View on the morning of Wednesday 21 June 2017.
- All exhibiting artists will be invited to the Private View on the evening of Wednesday 21 June 2017.
How to get selected
Just 2% of the artists who entered had their work selected for the exhibition in 2016. Hence it's a major achievement just to get selected.
Below I tell you what I've noticed when viewing exhibitions over the years - and as trends (and Judges) come and go - based on:
- track record
- the artwork
- technical aspects which can improve
- Build up a track record of being selected for the exhibition. Those who win the first time they enter are few and far between but a number of prizewinners in the past have been BP regulars. I predicted one of the prizewinners last year long before he was selected. So what can you do?
- Enter the competition - you can't build up a track record of being selected if you don't enter!
- 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. In the video below Aleah Chapin - who won with her very first entry discusses holding off from entering until she thought she was in with a good chance of being selected. (Plus she talks about the whole process of submitting and getting selected)
- Paint more than a head - demonstrate you can do commissions involving hands! Remember the first prize winner may be offered a commission. If you paint hands you put yourself in a stronger position to stand out and impress the judges with your skills. Also you will note that recently commissioned portraits added to the NPG collection very often have heads/upper torsos/hands. You may well enhance your chances by demonstrating an ability to paint more than a head.
- Review my past videos of the BP Portrait exhibitions (see my YouTube playlist) to see the nature of the portraits which make it through to the final
- Paint more than one person! Painting two people and creating a narrative tension between them creates more than twice the opportunity to impress! It's also a great way of submitting a portrait that's different - and in 2015 20% of the selected portraits were of two or more people.
- Don't be a "me too" painter. Paint for yourself and not for the Judges. I see portraits (outside the competition) on a regular basis which 'copy' the styles of successful portrait painters. However it's my belief that Judges don't select "me too" painters. They have no interest in how well you can be like another artist - they want to see people who have their own original style.
- Think very carefully about size. In 2015 I did an analysis of the exhibition (see BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2015 - video and analysis) which it provides an in-depth analysis of three portrait factors - size, type and number.
- Create a timetable to complete your portrait on time - Diary your time commitment to getting the portrait completed in good time BEFORE the deadline for entries
- note the date it needs to be dry enough to travel if selected for the second round. To do this you need to have enough experience to know how long a painting will take and how long it takes to get photographed.
- (That said I've known artists who keep working on a portrait after they sent off their submission - and the form does recognise that some painters may not have finished at the time of submission of their digital entry!)
- Do make time for studying the actual entry process and completing the form and uploading the image BEFORE the final days prior to the deadline.
- You can mess up your entry by messing up your digital entry.
- It gets very, very busy towards the end - and silly mistakes can be made if you are in a rush.
- Excellent digital images ALWAYS make a difference. The photo also needs to be both accurate and totally representative of your portrait.
- DO READ the technical advice on How to photograph your work
- Don't disappoint the judges by making the photo look better than the portrait when 'face to face' or it won't get selected.
- When judges are looking to lose portraits from the selection don't make it easy for them by submitting a digital image which is the wrong size / out of focus / with a resolution or colour that are are 'off' and/or misrepresents the real thing!
11 reasons to enter the BP Portrait Award 2017
|Main entrance to the National Portrait Gallery during the 2016 BP Portrait Exhibition|
- This very prestigious portrait competition can change your life. This is a prize that can change people's careers and lives - if they are ready for it. If you are or aspire to be a serious portrait artist you need to think very seriously about entering the competition that in the past 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 - galleries like to boast about your selection too!
- The prizes are significant. Get selected and you have a good chance of winning a major prize. Nearly 10% of those portraits are selected for the exhibition stand a chance of winning one of the five major prizes. They're worth between £6,000 and £35,000. This year thye are:
- 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
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: email@example.com
- Office hours are 9.00 – 17.00, Monday – Friday.
For future posts about the BP Portrait Award on this blog
- EITHER Subscribe and receive every post from Making A Mark via email.
- OR Bookmark this blog if you want to see f. (for subscriptions see side column)
- 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
- Note these include links to my videos 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 2016
- Call for Entries:
- £30,000 BP Portrait Award 2016 - How to enter and how to get selected
- Comparison of the RSPP Open and BP Portrait Award Competition
- Selected Artists:
- BP Portrait Award 2016 - Artists with their paintings
- My "Best of the Rest" from BP Portrait Award Entries - the ones that didn't make it through to the final 53
- BP Portrait Award 2016: Selected Artists
- Clara Drummond wins £30,000 BP Portrait Award 2016
- Interview with Clara Drummond - Winner of BP Portrait Award 2016
- Interview with Benjamin Sullivan (BP Portrait Award 2016 3rd Prize)
- Video and review of BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2016
BP Portrait Award 2015Call 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 - 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 2014A 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 2011
- CALL 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)