Portraits from the Market

Portraits from the Market was a solo show at Persistence Works Gallery, Sheffield in May 2018. It was my first city based public art show.

Part funded by the Arts Council England and part self-funded.

The idea in a nutshell.. Take a random venue, invite random passers-by to participate, capture their image in a passport style photo pose and then select a number of photographs to create large scale photorealist paintings.

 

Adopting something akin to the passport photograph harbours a sense of heightening individual identity.  For the purposes of the show I wanted to subvert this image by creating  large-scale photorealistic portraits.  Using photorealism acted as a way into the concept as it has roots in  traditional notions of painting and translates easier to a wider audience.  I also used the opportunity to install my studio into the exhibition space allowing visitors to see the creation of the work for the duration of the show.  The element of participation was a huge success as a large number of the participants visited the show thus achieving one of my fundamental objectives. The concept of capturing, in one single afternoon a representation of a modern urban community proved deeply compelling. This was a unique experiment into modern portraiture and attempt to embrace and celebrate an entire community. ​ The show was a huge success with over 1,200 visitors in the 24 days it was open. ​ Many thanks to Yorkshire Artspace and photographer Chris Saunders

The motivation of this project was to in part, capture and archive the demographic of a random venue in one afternoon and then ingratiate that group into the exhibition experience through participation. The final motivation was to celebrate this community and it's diversity as a microcosm of modern urban Britain.

I chose the indoor Market in Sheffield City centre. For centuries the market place as been at the centre of social engagement and I felt it was the perfect venue to demonstrate Sheffield's diversity, a busy vibrant market with a multicultural appeal.