The first post of the series is up! For this article, we asked the incredibly talented, professional portrait artists Tim Benson, Cristina BanBan and Jackson’s Open Painting Prize 2018 Commended Entry Frances Bell what advice they would give to emerging artists.
To view our other posts in this series, please visit our main blog post ‘Advice for Emerging Artists‘.
Benson is a multi-award-winning portrait artist who has exhibited extensively around the globe. His practice is committed to building awareness through painting – he is committed to working with charities and NGOs to tell the stories of people throughout the world who don’t have a voice. His paintings are currently on show at the Mall Galleries in his solo exhibition ‘Visions of Zambia‘; alternatively, you can view more of his work on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
‘Of course, it all starts with the work that you produce. Belief in your own work is essential; if you don’t believe in it why should anybody else? With the belief comes the motivation to get into your place of work as often as possible and to create the work that matters to you.
An online presence is important, so a website is very necessary. Not only is it an effective archive of your work but it acts like a portfolio for interested people to refer to. Further to this social media platforms such as Instagram are useful for getting your work seen; there’s no point being a talented artist if nobody can see your talent!’
After starting her career as a well renowned Illustrator, BanBan’s style has recently grown into a bright, more fleshy style of painting that captures voluptuous, exaggerated characters. As well as being exhibited in the UK, Spain and Belgium, her work has been featured by Its Nice That, Time Out, Female First and Vogue. View more of Cristina’s work on her Instagram or website.
‘To work hard, keep positive and find a way to show the work.’
Frances Bell was one of our 10 Commended Entries for Jackson’s Open Painting Prize 2018, meaning her atmospheric portrait automatically skipped the initial round of judging and was placed immediately into the competition’s longlist due to its outstanding quality. Outside of JOPP, Bell has a very successful career – in 2017 alone, she exhibited in with the Royal Society of British Artists, The Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Fresh Paint Exhibition, The Society of Women Artists, The Royal Society of Marine Artists, The Society of Wildlife Artists and The Royal Institute of Oil Painters. You can view more of her work on Facebook or her website.
‘I was once advised to think slowly and act quickly. In truth, I can’t remember what activity this gem pertained to, but it’s great advice for painting.
I would encourage emerging artists to be intrepid in their new interests and to be promiscuous experimenters while trying to hold a set of clear objectives in mind. So while you might be rifling through paint and canvases, you do so in aid of progressing only a few considered aims at a time, allowing the ideas to sink in slowly.
For example; I recently became fascinated by the aura and ambience created by dual light sources in portraiture. Over the course of 2 years, I have sprinkled my spare time with experiments in dual light which have been varied in their success but hugely beneficial to my overall development. I have other interests which are evolving alongside my dual light experiment, but in persisting with it in a “slow, long thought” kind of a way, spread over many quick projects rather than one long one, I feel I’m gradually developing another technique with which to express emotive subjects in portraiture.
The results of your adventures can then be entered into competitions as a bonus!’