Saturday, July 07, 2012

Carl Randall wins BP Travel Award 2012

Carl Randall has won the BP Travel Award 2012 - for a proposal I found most intriguing.

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

JP -Gokaido
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.

Hibakusha Portraits
(survivors of the Atomic Bomb, Hiroshima
ink and pencil
© Carl Randall
You can read about Carl's unusual group portrait painting Mr Kitazawa's Noodle Bar, Tokyo which was selected for the 2012 BP Portrait Award exhibition in Review: BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012 (Part 2)

Carl Randall with Mr Kitazawa's Noodle Bar, Tokyo
Oil on canvas, 161.5 x 96.5 cm
© Carl Randall
About 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:
He also made a habit of applying for and winning travel awards
  • 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. 
Since graduation in 1999, he's done a postgraduate Drawing Year at the Prince's Drawing School (2002-03) and was in the same year as Stuart Pearson Wright.

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.

Future Exhibitions

'Notes from The Tokyo Underground', a collection of line drawings made on Tokyo trains, is to be exhibited at The Jerwood Drawing Prize, Jerwood Space, London, Sept 8 - Oct 28, 2012. Exhibition also touring the UK, including to the new Jerwood Gallery, Hastings.

Paintings and drawings made in Japan will be exhibited at 'Tokyo Portraits' a solo exhibition at The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, Japan House, Regents Park, London.  January to March 2014.

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