Portrait Artist of the Year – Episode 1

Portrait Artist of the Year returns for season 5 and every week we are going to preview each upcoming episode to keep you up-to-date on every famous sitter and their artists. Along the way, we’ll also be featuring Q&A’s with the judges making this the perfect lead up to your weekly viewing of this beloved series.

Hosts Joan Bakewell and Stephen Mangan return with 3 judges this season; Curator, writer and actor Kathleen Soriano, head of Painting at The Art Academy in London and portrait painter in his own right Tai Shan Schierenberg and head of collections at Soho House Kate Bryan… will you agree with the judges’ decision?

In the season premiere episode on Tuesday 25 June, 8.30pm, we see singer and radio broadcaster Andi Oliver, actress Geraldine James and actor Matthew Goode take a seat with a mixture of trepidation and intrigue, let alone the concern of being able to sit still for four hours! Three artists line up in front of each sitter, with each artist bringing their own interpretation and style.

Andi Oliver is a former member of the punk band Rip Rig + Panic. Having forged a successful career in television and radio, Oliver is a highly-respected restaurateur and television presenter on the BBC’s Great British Menu. Artists focused on Oliver are Eric Whitehead, 21-years-old and studying a foundation course at London Fine Arts Studios, who says people often refer to his work as idealistic and glamorous; Mike Tucker, a fine art graduate from Hertfordshire whose day job is in prison administration; and Sophia Campbell, an art student from Belfast, who completed her university project on the works of Frida Kahlo.

Quintessential British actor Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game, The Crown) is worried he’ll fall asleep on the chair, but there’s definitely no rest for the three artists up for the challenge of painting Goode. Professional artist Geoffrey Harrison, who took 40 hours to paint his Portrait of the Year submission, a portrait which reflects his childhood memory of his father; Dorian Radu, also a professional artist (and previously a hip-hop dancer) who, in his self-portrait submission, balanced a towel on his head for eight hours to reference the 15th century painting by Jan van Eyck,  Man In A Red Turban; and professional artist Chris Williams, who despite being selected for this competition, as well as 2017’s Landscape Artist of the Year, is prone to self-doubt.

Renowned English actress, highly-admired for her roles in television, film, and theatre, Geraldine James was awarded an OBE for Services to Drama. Artists studying James for their portraits include Kelly Frank, an amateur artist who previously made it to the 2018 heats of Portrait Artist of the Year, and has created quite an unusual trademark in her work; amateur artist Suzon Lagarde is a senior student at London Arts Academy which, in her own words, allows her to work comfortably in a room of other painters; and the youngest artist in the first heat, 19-year-old Yevhen Nahirny is already taking commissions. His self-portrait submission for Portrait Artist of the Year took him three years to complete.

Enjoy the first episode on Tuesday 25 June, 8.30pm on SKY ARTS, SKY Channel 20. Next week will see 3 more sitters and 9 more artists compete to become Portrait Artist of the Year.

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