Portraits of the Queen - with a difference!
Happy Platinum Jubilee to Her Majesty! In her 70 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II has been captured across media like no other royal - on film, in print and on canvas. Did you know the Queen sits for four official portraits every year? (that’s a lot of sitting still!).
Since the 1970’s, artists have broken away from the traditional portrait painting, placing her image from pre-existing photographs in a pop or urban art context as a popular icon rather than esteemed monarch.
Perhaps the most famous subversive images are artist Jamie Reid’s design for the Sex Pistols single God Save the Queen and Pop Art legend Andy Warhol’s screenprints, released during the Silver Jubilee in 1977. In a surprising twist, the Queen actually owns copies of Warhol’s portrait of her and they are currently in the Royal Art Collection – maybe her tastes are not as traditional as you might think?
To mark this very special anniversary, here’s a highlight of contemporary artists following in Warhol’s footsteps, portraying Her Majesty in a very different light.
Dan Pearce is one of the UK’s most talked about contemporary artists. His work uses familiar images of famous faces or brands which he presents in a playful, thought-provoking way. Dan uses innovative mixed media techniques which are described as a “controlled explosion of energy, colour and texture” incorporating smashed glass and other unexpected objects. His latest portrait of the Queen, titled “World Class”, depicts her on a 1st Class stamp as part monarch, part soldier, perhaps in reference to her legendary calm demeanour through multiple crises!
Paul Normansell’s art is created by individually painting dots – all applied freehand using a fine brush - in high gloss enamel paint onto sheet aluminium; this meticulous process creates a flawless reflective quality as if looking at a glossy magazine. In what is surely bad news for his back, Paul has to paint on a canvas that is permanently horizontal until it dries because due to the materials used, if he places the canvas upright on a traditional easel, gravity causes the paint to run. Paul’s amazing results have been rewarded with global acclaim and high profile assignments including an album cover for The Killers. This image is titled “Happy and Glorious”.
Dylan Izaak is a true original, with an instantly recognisable whimsical style which is full of personality and unlike anything else on the contemporary scene. Dylan recently released a series of editions that are a playful tribute to the royals, London and the British sense of humour – including a cool dancing Queen!
Tom Butler uses mixed media to create stunning cityscapes in the form of newspaper cuttings – always hiding some surprising and humorous headlines in the artwork. To mark the Jubilee he has created this fun tribute to the royals, including the Queen waving to the crowd in an open top black cab in a Union Jack top hat, flanked by her corgis of course!
To talk to us about any of our artists, call on 01604 713743.