Two Bridgeman Artists, Christabel Blackburn and Thomas MacGregor feature in Sky Arts' sixth series of Portrait Artist of the Year, in which artists are challenged in a selection of different ways before several judges in each episode.
London based artist Christabel Blackburn is an artist who studies and specialises in the human form. After finishing her degree in Classics at Newcastle University she learnt portraiture in Florence. Embracing this traditional foundation in drawing and sculpting techniques, she completed a further two years at the London Atelier of Representational Art.
Influenced by Edward Hopper’s realism, photography by Philip-Lorca diCorcia as well as David Hockney’s architectural traits, Christabel’s work has evolved dramatically over the last ten years. Her strong sense of observation has enabled her to refine her technique, paring down detail yet still capturing the very essence of people in their environments and the symbiosis between the two. Be it a lone figure in a gallery or a child in an urban park, the stillness she portrays in her everyday scenes draws the viewer in and, like photography, holds you in that moment in time. The intimacy she creates pulls you closer, giving you a greater sense of the people in the picture, their thoughts and their feelings.
The simplicity of her work often conveys the loneliness and anonymity felt in a crowded city as well as challenging the impact of mental health caused by this digital age. Christabel’s scenes transcend the everyday; they are stories about society and how we live our lives.
Thomas MacGregor was born in Sidcup and raised in London and the Scottish Highlands. He studied at Edinburgh college of art in 1995-99 and is now enrolled on the studio programme at Turps Banana, cohort 2018-2020.
During his time at Art school he was involved with the Setting up of the stand Comedy club in Edinburgh and has had a permanent exhibition of work there since 1998.
He taught drawing and painting within the Scottish prison service from 2001 until 2006 when he took up a two year long residency in Cochabamba, Bolivia culminating in solo shows at Martadero, Cochabamba and Kiosko, Santa Cruz.
He has work in various private collections and has exhibited in Stockholm, Berlin, Edinburgh, London, Glasgow, Bolivia, L.A.,Preston. He now lives and works with his family in London.
Both artists are excited to be involved with the programme and you can watch the episodes presently on Sky Arts, or catch latest episodes a week later on youtube.
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