Frances Borden – National Portrait Gallery
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Frances Borden

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

LL Lost is a portrait of an elderly labrador, Lulu.

Water is a self-portrait. The original is in the Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize Exhibition at Piano Nobile King Place until September. 

R is a portrait of my friend and fellow artist Roxana Halls. We met on our Foundation Course. She was the first person I recognised as a painter in the way that I was, that is, as someone with a driving proclivity for immersion in painting as a way to render possibilities, inside and out. Our approaches are otherwise really different.

 

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

It made me work hard. I don't know if this was a good thing; I've had to stop to rest at various points, so it all evens out in the end. When I was younger I would have said it made a lot of difference and that's probably still true, but not in the way I thought then.

It was actually quite a baffling task to accommodate other people's approval. This was just as hard as being ignored or dismissed, because it made me want to please, which for me meant forgetting how to please myself.

 

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

There are so many unique signatures, that to choose one or two would seem arbitrary.

 

What’s your favourite work from the Collection?

It might sound strange, but I don't have favourites. 

When I find something interesting or heartening, it's usually only pertinent to an area of doubt in my own work and a possible way to clear it.