With art collectors always on the hunt for the next best thing, portraiture seems to be having its time in the limelight. From the ongoing success of Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year to Mike Dargas’ recent commission by former basketball player Austin McBroom, we investigate why collectors love portraiture and why portraits could be the perfect addition to your collection.
Portraiture can be a great way to commemorate the people you admire. Whether it be your favourite artist or an icon you look up to, adding a portrait of them to your collection can be a great way of honouring their legacy. From the artistic genius Frida Kahlo to fashion tycoon Coco Chanel, Bradley Theodore paints a whole cast of iconic characters in his distinctive style, making paying homage to your idol easier than ever before.
They can bring both colour and personality to a room.
Spanish painter, Coco Davez creates portraits inspired by pop art. Rendered in bold block colours, her vibrant paintings manage to capture the essence of their subjects despite omitting all facial details. Her faceless portrayals of well-known characters are instantly recognisable, embodying their personality through shape and colour alone. Creating colourful renderings of Yayoi Kusama, Elton John and John F. Kennedy, just to name a few, her work has a strong visual impact and is sure to brighten any collection.
Portraits are no longer restricted to hyper-realistic oils on canvas. They have evolved into a multitude of different forms and mediums and are being created out of all sorts of materials. Anonymous street artist Invader, for example, has created a series of portraits out of Rubik’s Cubes, depicting everyone from the Mona Lisa to Bob Marley. Surprisingly, Rubik’s Cubes are not the only wacky material contemporary artists are using for portraiture; over the past decade artists have also used pennies, crayons and even butter to create their portraits.
A portrait can be much more than a depiction of a famous figure. Justin Bower uses the idea of portraiture to explore how technology affects culture. Bower’s pixelated renderings of the human face interrogate the world in a post-human society. The glazed eyes and fractured features give way to a reality where the screen becomes the window to your soul. Bower’s work is not only thought-provoking, but also skilful in equal measure, proving that portraiture can be philosophically engaging.
A strong collection should always feature a range of both different mediums and genres. The versatility of portraiture, in its style, content and material, lends itself as the perfect genre to diversify any seasoned collector’s assemblage. The genre has come to define many artistic periods such as pop art and cubism, with Andy Warhol’s iconic portraits of Marilyn Monroe embodying an era. Contemporary portraiture has continued to adapt and evolve, influenced by current trends and reinventing past styles and with the recent rise in exhibitions focussing upon portraiture, it seems like there is no better time to add one to your collection.