Thursday, April 20, 2017

BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2017 - Selected Artists

This year 2,580 artists entered portraits for the BP Portrait Award - but only 53  from 87 countries were selected for the 2017 Exhibition of the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery this summer.

This blog post is about those artists who have been selected to exhibit in the BP Portrait Award 2017 Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery this summer.
the BP Portrait Award 2017 represents the very best in contemporary portrait painting
Here are some numbers:
  • In terms of entries, out of the 2,580 entries from all over the world
    • 1,214 Entries came from the UK - England, Scotland and Wales (47%)
    • 1,366 Entries came from 84 other countries(53%)
  • 218 paintings (8.4%) of the original entries made it through to the final judging session at Trinity Buoy Wharf. 
  • The judges then reduced this number to their selection of the final 53 for the exhibition (representing 2% of the total number of entries).
Alan Coulson with his portrait painting selected for the BP Portrait Award 2017
See the names of the selected artists - organised by the country where they live at present - BELOW - plus:
  • links to their websites and 
  • a short summary of their CV 
  • some photos of the artists and/or their portraits
Allocation to country takes detective work! Where I couldn't work out a country I created a category at the end called "unknown". If anybody spots a mistake with a website please let me know via comment or contact me.

SELECTED ARTISTS ARE INVITED to send me a copy of the image of their portrait - to feature in this blog post - along with a copy of their confirmation email. See the side column for how to contact me.

The Best of the Rest

My commiserations to all those reading this who entered but were not selected for the exhibition
  • My BP "Best of the Rest" will be published on Sunday (subject to receiving enough images of portraits)
  • See my blog post How to enter my BP Portrait "Best of the Rest" 2017 for my invite to those who failed to get selected for the exhibition
  • At the end of the post, you can find links to my posts about selected artists in previous years. Taken together these are an excellent method for studying the type of portraiture which gets selected for this award.

BP Portrait Award 2017 - Exhibiting Artists

Yesterday I posted about the artists shortlisted for the prizes - see BP Portrait Award 2017 - The Shortlist.

Today I must congratulate all those artists who have been selected for the exhibition.

  • LINKS TO THEIR WEBSITES are embedded in their names in the list below (where available). 
  • Previous prizewinners are highlighted in red
  • Those previously selected for the BP have a link to previous portraits (unless they were in those years of the very irritating exhibitor listings where you have to go through all portraits one by one from the beginning and/or there were a lot!)
  • For those without a website see my blog post listed on my Major Art Competitions in the UK page
The Websites of Contemporary Painters in the UK - Get your website sorted BEFORE you enter a juried art competition or miss out on the traffic when the names of selected artists are announced!
The photos below are a mix of
  • portraits sent to me of work selected for this year's exhibition and 
  • images of artists with their portraits due to being selected for previous exhibits.
  • Sinead Davies (nee Siggins) - born in Ireland; studied at the Byam Shaw School in London from 1976-80; moved to Australia in 1983. Now lives and works in Sydney and is an Australian Citizen. Worked as a Fine Artist, a Creative Director and a part-time Lecturer in Design at UNSW FBE 1995-2010. She has been in the Portia Geach Memorial Award (Australia's most prestigious art prize for portraiture by female artists) six times, with two portraits exhibited in 2014, and a three-time finalist in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. She was an Archibald Finalist in 2016 and her portrait of Ken Rosewall hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.
  • Janne Kearney - will be attending the official opening with her family. Longlisted but not hung in 2015. Since 2008 she has been a finalist in over 60 national and international Art Prizes and has shown her work in 23 exhibitions across Australia and in Italy. 
86 (rhyming slang for worth nix) by Janne Kearney
oil on linen, 100cm x 100cm


  • Bao Han - no website


  • Rupert Alexander - Professional portrait painter. Lives in London and classically trained in Chelsea and Florence. Has already been commissioned to do a portrait for the National Portrait Gallery - see Sir Andrew Wiles
  • Martyn Burdon - graduated from Brunel University in 2004 and lives and works in Bedford in the UK. Selected for the BP Portrait exhibition on three occasions.
  • John Burke - exhibiting at the Annual Exhibition of the RP in 2017 (I think!)
  • Sopio Chkhikvadze - born in Georgia and based in London. Studied art at Tbilisi Nikoladze Art College (1988-92 ) and did her Master's degree at the Tbilisi State Academy of Art (1992-97).  Selected for BP Portrait 2016.
  • Alan Coulson - (Facebook Page) a contemporary artist working predominantly in portraiture. More importantly, his drawings are in my book! Foundation studies in art and design at Harrogate College of Art and Design and self-taught after that. Used to live in London and now back living in Yorkshire with his family. Previously exhibited in the BP Portrait Award 2010, 2011 and 2012 - when he won third prize in 2012. His portrait of Ritchie Culver was seen absolutely everywhere in London! (see throwback pic below) At the top of this post is a pic of Alan earlier this year with his framed painting which has been selected for the BP
Alan Coulson with Ritchie Culver in the 2012 BP Portrait Exhibition 
at the National Portrait Gallery
Robert by Estelle Day
  • Estelle Day - member of Kingston Open Studios. She did her Foundation Year in painting and sculpture at Chelsea College of Art then graduates from Oxford Brookes University with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art & French. She works from her home studio in South West London where the main focus is portrait painting.
  • Claire Eastgate - born in Nottinghamshire. Spent childhood in rural Shropshire. Studied art foundation at Shrewsbury College and a BA in Fine Art at Birmingham School of Art. Has worked as a commission artist for over 10 years.  Commissioned by the Kennel Club in 2013 to paint their patron, Her Majesty The Queen. Shortlisted for the biennial Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize in 2015.
Carol Ann Duffy (Poet Laureate) and Gillian Clarke (National Poet of Wales) by Claire Eastgate
oil & mixed media on canvas, 48" x 48"
  • Madeline Fenton - No bio. Paints small and has exhibited in Cambridge and London. Selected for Ruth Borchard self-portrait exhibition in 2013.
  • Maryam Foroozanfar - no bio on her own website. Works and exhibits regularly in the UK. Studied illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York. Selected for BP Portrait Award in 2004200720082009, 2010
  • Fiona Graham-Mackay - her website declares that she is a painter much in demand and that she has travelled thousands of miles in the last five years fulfilling commissions. This is her blog. Selected for BP Portrait Exhibition 2016
Fiona Graham-Mackay with her portrait of Sir Andrew Motion
in the BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2016
  • Raoof HaghighiHe was the London Heat Winner of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year in 2014 and the overall winner of Artist & Artists And Illustrators Magazine Artist of the Year in 2011 and has previously been shown in BP Portrait Award in 2011 and 2015. This is his Facebook Page
Raoof Haghighi with his self-portrait The Reader
oil on canvas board 500x700mm
(pictured at BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2015)
  • Laura Quinn Harris - Studied Scientific & Natural History Illustration at Blackpool & the Fylde School of Art and Design. Specialises in portraits of wildlife, people and pets. In 2014, reached the grand final of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2014. Commissioned by the Royal College of Music to paint Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. Her portrait has also been selected for this year's exhibition website.
Jessica by Laura QuinnHarris
Oil on board, 515 x 625 mm
    'Ania' by Ania Hobson
     Oil, beeswax impasto on canvas,  1370mm Sq
  • Ania Hobson - Comes from rural Suffolk.  No bio summary on her website. Studied at the Prince's Drawing School and Portraiture at the Florence Academy of Art, Italy. She made the long list for the BP Portrait in 2016 but wasn't hung.
  • Hero Johnson - A London based artist, originally from Cornwall. Winner of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Changing Faces Commission Prize 2015. Awarded the New English Art Club Drawing Scholarship 2016-17. She will also be showing drawings and paintings at upcoming exhibitions by the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the New English Art Club. 
'Tabitha Moses with Gilda. Liverpool'  by Hero Johnson
oil on canvas, 160cm x 100cm
  • Gary Lawrence - no website. I'm wondering if this is the Gary Lawrence who won The Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2011 with an enormous drawing done with a biro (well quite a lot of biros!)
  • Anastasia Pollard - trained at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Florence Academy of Art. Elected as a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 2006. Won The Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture plus the gold medal awarded for the most distinguished painting in the Royal Society of Portraiture’s annual exhibition in 2011. Teaches at LARA in London.
  • Brian Sayers - No CV or portraits online / gallery websites only. Studied at the Slade School of Art. Selected BP Portrait Award in 2007, 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2016
  • Paul P. Smith - Lived and worked in East Anglia all his life. Has painted in oils for over thirty years and paints detailed portraits and landscapes. Selected for BP Portrait Award in 2015. His painting was featured on the exhibition website.
  • Lucy StopfordGraduated with BA in fine art from Leeds University (1993). Attended courses at the Slade School of Fine Art and at the Florence Academy of Art. She is a portrait painter and sculptor working from life in oils and clay.  Also secretary of The Oxford Art Society and is a co-ordinator of the Oxford Artweeks open studio initiative
  • Khushna Sulaman-Butt - Born in Lancashire. BFA Fine Art (2016), Oxford University. Some impressive paintings but clearly starting out as an artist. Oddly, she's only listed by her first name in the NPG list. However, all artists need surnames and an excellent reputation before they become reduced to one name (like Picasso)! :) I also note she uses her full name on her website and elsewhere. However, congratulations are due to Khushna for the choice of her image for the BP Portrait Award 2018
  • Benjamin Sullivan - nominated for shortlist - see BP Portrait Award 2017 - The Shortlist. Won 3rd Prize in 2016. The whole Sullivan family is participating in the shortlist for the prizes again this year!  You can view my video interview with him on YouTube - see Benjamin Sullivan 3rd Prize in BP Portrait Award 2016.
Ben and Ginnie Sullivan at the 2016 VP Portrait Awards Ceremony with baby Edith
Ginnie and Edith are the subjects of the portrait shortlisted for a prize in 2017.
  • Richard Twose - Won 2nd Prize in 2014 the first time he entered the BP. See Richard Twose and David Jon Kassan - video interviews with BP Portrait Award prizewinners 2014 for my video interview Richard Twose Interview - BP Portrait Award 2014 (2nd prize) on YouTube. He used to teach art in Bristol - until he won Second Prize in this competition. He's now a full-time artist. Recent achievements include: Cultural Visions Lecture at University of Hull for Hull: UK City of Culture; 2016 Winner: RWA Open Prize;
    Shortlisted: Black Swan Gallery Open Award; 2015 Shortlisted: Beep International Painting Prize.
Ken Loach by Richard Twose


  • Thomas Ehretsmann - nominated for shortlist - see BP Portrait Award 2017 - The Shortlist
  • Julian Merrow- Smith - Born in UK, lives in Provence in France. Previous BP Portrait exhibitor in 1999. Has also exhibited portraits with the RP. Better known for his still lives and landscapes and a Postcard from Provence which started in 2004 and changed his life in 2006 after being featured in the New York Times and selling out his studio in 2 hours... He's been so busy with PfP that this is the first BP Portrait entry since.
Self-portrait by Julian Merrow Smith


  • Anne Ben-Or -  a Belgian-Israeli painter, specialising in figurative painting from observation.  She's exhibited widely and has had a number of solo exhibitions.


  • Anastasia Kurakina - born in Moscow. Studied in Moscow and in Rome. Currently, lives and works in Rome
  • Marco Ventura - born and lives in Milan in Italy. Studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti of Brera in Milan and later at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Works as a freelance illustrator for many advertising companies and international publishers and magazines. Won a number of awards. His illustration portraits are worth a look. 
S. at End of Summer by Marco Ventura
oil on panel cm 30 x 40.



  • Self-Portrait with Pear by Ross McCauley
      Ross McAuley
       - Born 1988 in Toronto, Canada. Has lived and worked in Glasgow, Scotland, since 2013. Semi-finalist on Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2017.
    • Angela Repping - Born in the Netherlands. Moved to Scotland to study at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. Graduated in 1997 with a First Class BA(Hons) in Drawing and Painting. Shortlisted for the inaugural shortlist for the W Gordon Smith prize
    SLOVAKIA (1)
    • Lukáš Betinský - a Slovak painter who studied at the academy of fine arts and design, in Bratislava. I'm guessing it might be this one
    • Emily Stainer - No website. In 2008 was a South African artist and art historian, working in watercolour, mixed media and installation.
    SPAIN (7)
    Jorge Abbad-Jaime de Aragón Córdoba with his portrait of his wife Natalia
    in the BP Portrait exhibition in 2015
    • Daniel Coves - Studied painting and engraving at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan and painting at the Academia de Bellas Artes San Carlos, Valencia. Currently lives and works between Madrid and Berlin PhD in artistic production and research in Universidad Complutense, Madrid.  Selected for BP Portrait Exhibition in 2009; 2013 and 2015. He seems to specialise in painting the backs of people.
    • Silvestre Goikoetxea - only a twitter account
    • Jose Antonio Ochoa - born in Mexico. Attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago. Graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from Seville University. Exhibited widely in Spain.
    • Jesús María Sáez de Vicuña Ochoa - no website, just a blog. No bio on his blog but appears to have been juried into major European/International competitions for figurative art
    • Iñigo Sesma -  No website. Master degree in Painting. University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, Spain (2014); Drawing Programme, School of Visual Arts, SVA, New York, USA (2013)
    • Anca-Luiza Sirbu - no website. Born in Bucarest, Romania. Moved age 18 to Granada, Spain, for Fine Art studies at the University of Granada. Graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in 2007. Currently a PhD student and a mother of two. Her portrait is of her 6 year old son.
    Portrait of her 6 year old son by Anca Sirbu
    TURKEY (1)
    • ?
    WALES (1)
    • Casper White - Facebook Page Graduated 2003 with a BA (Hons) Fine Art, The Cardiff School of Art & Design, Wales. Initially, I was confused about this name as the only websites I can find for a person of this name are either about wall hangings or ice sculptures. However, it now seems the hangings are associated with portraits. This portrait is of his nephew Jack.
    Jack by Casper White
    oil on zinc, 400mm x 300mm

    USA (6)
    Nikki by John Borowicz
    Oil on panel, 16" x 12"
    • John Borowicz - Lives and Works in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Studied painting at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Dartmouth respectively. Previously selected for BP Portrait in 2016. I remember his portrait of Tad (Son Of The Artist) very well! It's the feature image for my video of the 2016 exhibition. His son also got his very own poster! (see below). You can see the portrait selected for this year's exhibition above.

    A post shared by John Borowicz (@johnborowicz) on

    • Noah Buchanan - Initially attended Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts followed by BA degree at the University of California, Santa Cruz and an MFA at New York Academy of Art. Exhibits in New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Also, lectures in drawing and painting in Spring and Summer at the University of California (Santa Cruz)  Selected for the BP Portrait in 2016.
    • Éva Csányi-Hurskin - born in Australia; BA. Fine Art from Monash University in Melbourne Australia. Now works from her Atlanta, GA, USA-based studio to create photo-realistic oil paintings and coloured pencil drawings. 
    • Hannah Laws - brought up in Scotland and first degree from St Andrews University in Scotland. Due to graduate BFA in Fine Art Painting from Academy of Art University in San Francisco in the spring of 2017. (I'd list under Scotland except for the NPG saying there are two Scottish submissions - by people actually living in Scotland)
    Hannah Laws with her self-portrait
    Oil on Gessoboard, 18''x18''
    • Simón Ramírez Restrepo - Currently based in New York (?) and just completed an MFA at New York Academy of Art (?)
    • David Stanger - From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. BFA in painting from Syracuse University. Studied painting and Renaissance art history in Florence, Italy. MFA from the Hoffberger School of Painting at Maryland Institute College of Art.  Currently an Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing at Seton Hill University. Exhibited regionally and nationally
    Jerome Witkin by David Stanger
    oil on linen mounted to board, 20" x 16"

    • Rowanne Cowley - no website
    • Mustafa Ozel - no website
    • Brian Shields - no website

    BP Portrait Award 2017

    The exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery opens to the public on 22 June and closes at 5 pm on 24 September 2017.

    BP Portrait Award 2018

    For those wanting to exhibit in the BP Portrait Award in 2018 the website tells you what you have to do!

    BP Portrait Award - selected artists in previous years

    1 comment:

    1. Jose Antonio Ochoa's website is: you can also find him on Instagram: Joseanochoa or Facebook: Jose Antonio Ochoa.

      Have a nice day!


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