'Musician Portraits' by Joe Simpson

20 Jan 2015 – 20 Apr 2015

Event times

Open daily from 12pm - 12am

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'Musician Portraits' is a series of paintings of famous singers and musicians who have all sat for Joe Simpson. They have been exhibited all over the country, including a solo exhibition at The Royal Albert Hall in June 2012 and they are now on display for the first time in Manchester at Artisan.


Over a year in the making, the project was as much a challenge in making contact with the subjects and took Joe all over the country; visiting the musician's homes and studios, to backstage at arena concerts and festivals and as far as Las Vegas to meet Brandon Flowers.

Joe's portrait of Maxi Jazz from this series was shortlisted for the prestigious BP Portrait Award 2011. The painting has been exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery in an exhibition which was the most popular show in the gallery's history.

Speaking on the idea behind the paintings, Joe said "I've tried to root each painting in a tradition of painted portraiture. Each piece has a quiet, still and almost introspective feel to them. I'd tried to capture the way that each person held themselves when I met them, usually I didn't give the musicians a great deal of direction, or plan how I wanted the piece to turn out. These paintings have a physicality to them that you don't get with a photograph, the paint has a specific weight and application. You can see layers and brush-marks in the hair and skin tones. I'm really excited to see the paintings on display in Manchester." 

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