Best Popular Factual Programme - Broadcast Digital Awards 2018
Nearly two thousand artists across the UK and Ireland have been whittled down to just 72 to compete in this year’s Portrait Artist of the Year series produced by award winning production company Storyvault Films. It returns to our screens 8pm on Tuesday, 12th February 2019 on Sky Arts and On Demand/NOW TV, and is presented by actor and art-lover Stephen Mangan, alongside Joan Bakewell.
We meet 24 celebrity sitters over eight weeks of heats from the world of film, television, music and sport, with this first episode featuring Matthew Goode, Geraldine James and Andi Oliver. In the subsequent weeks, viewers will see David Gandy, Anne Reid and Ashley Walters; Jodie Kidd, James Purefoy and Eddie Hall; Anne Chancellor, Stephen Graham and Beverley Knight; Georgina Campbell, Mark Gatiss and Tanni Grey Thompson; Sophie Ellis Bextor, Adrian Lester, Nitin Sawhney; Angela Griffin, Gina McKee, Jamael Westman and the final heat features Jodie Comer, Daniel Lismore and Nick Moran.
The winner from this heat will join the seven other heat winners to paint British Jazz legend Courtney Pine MBE in the semi-final. The remaining three artists through to the Final will then paint Hollywood actress and singer Laura Linney at the National Portrait Gallery. Those three finalists are also given their own special commissions to be judged alongside their final work featuring musicians Claire Rutter, Jazzie B and Dame Cleo Lane.
The returning judges are award winning artist Tai Shan Schierenberg, independent curator Kathleen Soriano and art historian Kate Bryan. The overall winner will be commissioned to paint the portrait of Sir Tom Jones, which will hang in the permanent collection at The National Museum of Wales.
Stephen Mangan confirmed: “I was delighted to join Joan [Bakewell] for the return of Sky Arts’ Portrait Artist of the Year. Together, we have seen some incredible artists come through the ranks and it has been fascinating to see their portraits of our celebrity sitters come to life. Painting done well is a kind of magic, painting done by me is a crime - so it was both a privilege and a relief to watch artists with genuine talent work their magic. I can’t wait for everyone to see the show when it returns on 12th February 2019.”
Each celebrity sitter was allowed to keep one of their finished portraits – regardless of whether that artist went through to the next stage. According to previous artists that’s the beauty of the show – and that the ‘taking part’ is life changing, both for their business and artist profile.
Portrait Artist of the Year (PAOTY) has captured public imagination since its launch in 2013 and boasts the titles of “best-performing, non-scripted series of all time” and is the biggest series ever for Sky Arts, with viewing figures growing over the course of the series.
All eight heats in this year's programme were filmed in the courtyard of The Wallace Collection in London’s Manchester Square, home to one of Europe’s finest art collections. Last year's winner was Samira Addo, who won the commission to paint actress Kim Cattrall. The portrait now hangs in the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. The year before Gareth Reid was Portrait Artist of the Year 2017 with his stunning portrait of Graham Norton, who in an unusual twist of fate, turned out to be Gareth's distant cousin! The painting now hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland.