Ania Hobson – National Portrait Gallery
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Ania Hobson

Can you tell us about the series of prints available as part of the anniversary year, and the inspiration behind them?


The series or prints that I have on display are all of my most recent work. Some are self-portraits and the rest are of my extended family members. With my portraits I look at the perspective of the figure rather than painting an actual ‘good face’. The whole painting process is what fascinates me as well as the curation of a composition. I enjoy painting women in a really confident manner and collaborating that with fashion, giving them a modern, relatable feel.

The painting Evening In Montmartre depicts me and my cousins and sister, all of us are as close as actual sisters. This was my first trip to Paris and it had been a while since we had all seen each other. An evening in a cafe over some glasses of wine and smoke coiling around our heads, it was the perfect place to paint this moment. I wanted to capture a conversation and the feel of authentic Parisian cafes, the dark, dated wooden decor and marble tables which have endured many conversations and secrets. I have always been fascinated with cafe scenes for instance - Edgar Degas, The L'Absinthe or Toulouse Lautrec with all his cafe scenes of Paris. Visiting the city and immersing myself in it was the perfect place to feel inspired to create this painting. 


What difference did being part of the BP Portrait Award make to you as an artist?

Being involved with the BP Portrait Award definitely helped push my career, with the exposure of exhibiting and doing the tour, it opened many doors for me and helped to give me that confidence to take my work further.


Is there a particular artist or work from a previous year of the BP Portrait Award you admire?

Phil Hale with his painting - Thomas Joseph Edmund Adès which won joint second prize in the BP Portrait Award is definitely a favourite, the whole composition and attire is really moving. The expression on the sitters face and clothing gets you wondering about the whole situation in a very uncomplicated way. It’s a great painting, and once that I keep returning to.


What’s your favourite work from the Collection?

My favourite work from this collection is that of Carl Randall, his busy scenes of everyday life create such a vibe, with the busy scenes pulling you into his relatable landscapes.