This year the first prize has been increased to £30,000. The Second Prize winner will receive £10,000 and the BP Young Artist Award winner £7,000.
It's a real pleasure to review this Call for Entries each year, not least because in the past at least one artist has read this post in the past, then entered a portrait and won a prize. This year maybe it will be you!
|BP Portrait Award 2013 - Call for Entries|
The Portrait Award, now in its thirty-fourth year at the National Portrait Gallery and twenty-fourth year of sponsorship by BP, is the most prestigious portrait painting competition in the world. With a first prize of £30,000 the Award is aimed at encouraging artists to focus upon and develop portraiture in their work.
You can find out who can enter and how to enter below. This post provides:
- reasons to enter this art competition
- how to get selected
- an overview of the requirements for all those who would like to enter a portrait
- links to past exhibitions and reviews on this blog
The reality: In 2012, 2,187 artists from 75 different counties submitted their work. The exhibition comprised just 55 paintings. That's a 2.5% chance of being selected. (see also: BP Portrait Award 2011: People's Favourite & Statistics)
- it's a very prestigious and truly international competition - and international artists win prizes! e.g. see Aleah Chapin wins £25,000 BP Portrait Award 2012
- Just to be selected for the exhibition is a very real and very significant achievement in itself. Many artists try, but the competition has become very intense and few are chosen. Hence being selected for the exhibition can be very beneficial for an artist's career - because this is an important juried exhibition in a major national portrait gallery in the middle of London.
- Where else do you get the chance to show your work to over 250,000 people? If selected your work will be seen in an exhibition which is visited by an absolutely huge number of people. It's the most popular exhibition held at the NPG every year - which means you get your art in front of a lot of people - and some of them will want to commission portraits.
- You (and the rest of London) may come face to face with your portrait while riding on the Underground. Your portrait may be chosen to be one of the few used to advertise the exhibition widely across London - or on an enormous banner outside the Gallery!
- Selected artists have gained commissions from the NPG and others as a result of the considerable interest in the Portrait Award and the resulting exhibition.
- It's a real leveller - there are no perks for who you are. Even the ex President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters thought long and hard about what to submit - because she really wanted to be selected. (see this YouTube interview with Daphne Todd in which she talks about the painting she chose for the exhibition - and which won her first prize in 2010)
- there's a People's Choice Prize for the most popular portrait with the visitors to the exhibition and it's always interesting to see what get's chosen.
- Winners of this competition tend to enjoy very significant benefits to their careers after winning the BP Portrait Award.
However you do need to be organised to make the most of being selected (website licked into shape, artist statement ready and available, a good range of other work ready to be seen; press release at the ready). I'll be doing another post about how to make the most of being selected for a prestigious art competition.
How to get Selected
To get selected you need to produce good artwork and get noticed. So how does that happen?
- 22 out of 55 artists = 40% of the selected artists have been selected for BP Portrait Exhibitions in previous years
- most portraits commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery and head and torso, while others are full figure. Relatively few are the head alone.
These are the changes I've spotted which are new to 2013.
- Increases in prize money for all the Awards
- No Third Prize in 2013 - however if nobody under 30 is shortlisted then the Young Artist prize will NOT be awarded and the funds will be diverted to a third prize.
- NPG will in future focus only on organising one central collection point. They will NOT organise a regional collection from across the UK. (Which is not to say an enterprising courier might not offer to do so). I suspect this might be connected to the increase in work associated with entries from International Entrants. The details of how to submit and what is expected are also clearer for international artists.
The BP Portrait Award 2013 Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery will be open to the public from 20 June to 15 September 2013. The exhibition will then tour to two other venues in the UK in 2013-14 (dates and venues to be announced).
The entire competition is judged, on an equal and anonymous basis, from original paintings. There is no segregated judging by region or country.
The awards are as follows:
- the first prize is a cash award of £30,000. Plus, at the judges' discretion, a commission worth £5,000, can be agreed between the National Portrait Gallery and the artist.
- Second Prize: £10,000
- BP Young Artist Award: £7,000 All selected artists aged between 18 and 30 will automatically be considered for both the BP Young Artist Award and the BP Portrait Award, but an individual cannot win both. The purpose of this award is to continue the competition's role in showcasing young artistic talent.
- BP Travel Award 2013: £6,000 (an increase of £1,000 on last year)
Who can enter
Do make sure you study the entry requirements. However in short, you can enter if you are over 18, live anywhere in the world, can paint a portrait of a human figure and enjoy portraiture!
This international competition is open to everyone aged 18 and over in recognition of the outstanding and innovative work currently being produced by artists of all ages working in portraiture. The competition is judged, on an equal and anonymous basis, from original paintings. An exhibition is then created from a selection of the entries.
BP Young Artists Award: All entrants from the 18-30 age group will automatically be considered for both the BP Young Artist Award and the BP Portrait Award, but an individual cannot win both. Artists must be 30 years of age or under on 1 January 2013 to be eligible for the BP Young Artist Award.
BP Travel Award: All 2013 exhibitors will be eligible to submit a proposal for the BP Travel Award. The aim of the Award is to provide the opportunity for an artist to experience working in a different environment, in Britain or abroad, on a project related to portraiture which will then be shown as part of the BP Portrait Award 2014 exhibition and tour in 2013-14.
How to Enter
Last things first - the deadline for your entry forms and entry fees being returned to the National Portrait Gallery is Monday 13 February 2012.
Entry forms and fees
- Complete the online entry form here
- request a postal entry form call 020 7321 6699 or write to the NPG
- Or download the entry form (PDF) from the National Portrait Gallery
- Pay the entry fee of £36
- need to be registered online www.npg.org.uk/bp
- OR returned to: BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE
What you do NOT want to do is create a work for this competition and then realise that it isn't eligible or you can't present it in the right way at the right time! Which is why you need to read the rules three times now!
These are The 2013 Rules. There's a lot of them, they're white on black (never easy to read) in very tiny print with no spacing - with even smaller print and less accessible colour on the entry form. In my view that makes them impossible to read easily even if you have excellent eyesight.
- block the rules
- copy and paste to a wordprocessing software (I use Google Docs)
- convert the text to black and the background to white and remove all formatting
- that should bring the text into a normal font size at normal spacing which is much easier to read
- you - the artist submitting the work
- the portrait you are submitting
- the competition is open to all those aged over 18 on 1 January 2013.
- employees of the National Portrait Gallery, BP, and their agents, and previous first prize-winners of the Portrait Award since 1980 are NOT eligible to enter
- SHOULD be a painting based on a sitting or study from life. You need to indicate on the form whether or not you have met the sitter.
- AND the human figure MUST predominate.
- MUST be available for the period of the exhibition and the tour to two other venues.
- the portrait must be recent ie it MUST have been completed after 1 January 2012
- you are asked to confirm the start date. This needs to pre-date the completion date (latter was new last year. I think this is an area where entries have been caught out in the past)
- must NOT be a work previously submitted for consideration. I'm guessing some artists have been reckoning on the jury changing every year. The reality is (1) records are kept of who enters what (2) some jurors are always on the jury
- Media and Size:
- MUST be predominantly painted in oil, tempera or acrylic (No watercolours, works on paper or pastels will be considered - although I am still lobbying for pastels to be admitted at some point!)
- MUST be on a stretcher or board, preferably framed and unglazed.
- MUST be bigger than 25 x 20cm (10” x 8”) unframed. Smaller works will not be considered.
- MUST be smaller than 244 x 244cm (96" x 96") framed (including the frame). The size limit was presumably generated by one of the shortlisted works in 2011. Multi-part portraits are considered as one work and also require clear instructions as to installation.
- Entry forms and registration fees must be submitted to the NPG by 11 February 2013
- All entrants will be notified if their work is selected (or not) for exhibition by Wednesday 27 March 2013
- There are lots of very detailed requirements as to submission and collection of the actual painting - I've summarised some of these below but there is more and my advice is to read it all very carefully!
- All artists will need to insure their works
- International artists should also pay particular attention to their financial liabilities (eg import duties etc) and what they are required to do.
- The Gallery is not responsible for wrapping works or providing wrapping materials to return works - (unless agreed and a fee paid - but this applies to international entrants only)
- All correspondence with artists will be via email!
- The artist is responsible for checking their email to see whether your artwork has been selected or rejected.
- The National Portrait Gallery will not arrange courier collections or post works on behalf of the artist.
- There are detailed conditions relating to copyright and publication which all entrants should read.
Paintings delivered to the National Portrait Gallery will NOT be accepted. The Gallery uses a collection point which is NOT the gallery.
Regional Collection Points:
The logistical and administrative implications of making the regional collections are no longer sustainable for us and we feel that our focus needs to be on one central delivery point now that we have increased entries from around the world. The Gallery does recognise the commitment shown by artists from around the UK and internationally and we very much appreciate the effort taken to submit work. The Gallery remains committed to ensuring that artists from all regions of the UK are able to enter the competition so please do get in touch if we can offer any advice on how to deliver/ship your work. The delivery address will be located centrally in London and confirmed via email at the time of entry into the competition.Delivery Dates - Hand delivery in person to London Collection Point
- For works arriving by post or courier:
- Monday 4 March – Thursday 14 March, 09.00–17.00 (excluding weekends)
- For works delivered in person:
- Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 March, 09.00–17.00
- Wednesday 13 March and Thursday 14 March, 09.00–20.00
- No entries will be accepted at the London collection point after 20.00 on Thursday 14 March 2012.
- UK entrants - works that are hand-delivered MUST be free of packaging / packing for works delivered by post or courier will NOT be retained
- International Entrants - can be delivered by courier / packaging will be retained and reused / charge will be made if packaging cannot be reused
- Entries that are hand delivered should be left without any protective packaging as this cannot be retained.
- Deliveries by post will be accepted in suitable packaging.
- The Gallery will not be responsible for wrapping works or providing wrapping materials for any works being returned.
- Artists not residing in the UK must arrange and pay for delivery of their work to the London collection point on the allocated dates.If works are being shipped by courier, artists must take full responsibility for all costs, including any import customs charges and duties. It is the artist’s responsibility to check with their courier company that their paintings have cleared customs and have been delivered on the allocated dates.
- International entries will be re-packaged in the original packaging. It is the artist’s responsibility to arrange and pay for collection of their works from the London collection point on the allocated dates.
- If the original packaging is no longer suitable for use, we can provide packaging materials but there will be an additional charge for this service.
The National Portrait Gallery reserves the right to dispose of or destroy any work not collected after one month of the latest date for collection of unexhibited works or exhibited works.Damage and Artist's Insurance
Read this one carefully. Basically it means even if somebody other than the artist damages the entry then they are NOT liable to you for any loss or damage. If it's a portrait of value to you, you must arrange insurance at your own cost.
The responsibility for damage or loss, however caused, is the responsibility of the artist. Artists are therefore advised to arrange adequate insurance cover against such risks. The sponsor, the carriers, the collection point, the touring venues, any other subcontractor or the National Portrait Gallery shall not be liable for any loss or damage, whether or not caused by their negligence.
- links to the image which won the first prize in the BP Portrait Awards (if available - for some reason the NPG website seems to failed to archive some of the exhibitions and winners) and
- the winning artist's current website (if available).You can also find out more about past competitions in my posts from previous years detailed below
- Call for Entries: BP Portrait Award 2012 The competition is open to all artists living anywhere in the world who are aged 18 and over on 1st January 2012.
- BP Portrait Award 2012 - 55 Selected Artists - list of selected portraits / exhibiting artists for the 2012 Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.
- BP Portrait Award 2012 - The Shortlist - identifies those shortlisted. See if you can guess which work won before reading my review post.
- Aleah Chapin wins £25,000 BP Portrait Award 2012 BP Portrait Award 2012 Prizewinners - American Artist Aleah Chapin wins the £25000 top prize.
- Carl Randall wins BP Travel Award 2012 - information for those interested in the Travel Award
- Review: BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012 (Part 1) Focuses on a theory about what's important to getting selected.
- BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012 (Part 2) Part 2 of a review of the BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012. Focuses on portrait paintings I like.
- Video of BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012 A Makingamark Video of a walk around the BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012 at the National Portrait Gallery on 20 June 2012.
- a reminder about the deadline for entries
- the list of artists selected for the exhibition
- the list of shortlisted artists
- the awards ceremony
- a video of the exhibition
BP Portrait Award 2011
- BP Portrait Award 2011 Shortlist
- BP Portrait Award 2011: links to Selected Artists
- Review: BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2011
- BP Travel Awards: 2010 (Paul Beel) and 2011 (Jo Fraser) - information for those interested in the Travel Award
- BP Portrait Award 2011: People's Favourite & Statistics
- awardwinners in 2010:
- Daphne Todd wins BP Portrait Award 2010
- Two American Artists win BP Portrait Prizes
- BP Portrait Award: Michael Gaskell's unparalled record
- BP Portrait Exhibition 2010 opens today (VIDEO)
- BP Portrait Award 2010 - Shortlist announced
- BP Portrait Award 2010: List of Exhibitors and Brian Sewell
- BP Portrait Tour & Portrait of the Nation (24 Sep 2009)
- Sue Rubira makes her mark on bp portrait (18 Jun 2009)
- Exhibition review: BP Portrait Award (18 Jun 2009)
- Peter Monkman wins first prize in BP Portrait Award 2009 (17 Jun 2009)
- BP Portrait Award 2009 - the shortlist (27 May 2009)
- BP Portrait Award - who enters and who gets selected (28 May 2009)
- BP Portrait Award 2009 - Call for Entries (15 Dec 2008)
- Making a Mark: Craig Wylie wins BP Portrait Award 2008
- Making a Mark: BP Portrait Prize 2008 - exhibition opens
- Making a Mark: Paul Emsley wins BP Portrait Award (22 Jun 2007)
- View the BP Portrait Award 2007 and BP Travel Award 2006 exhibitions (15 June 2007)
- BP Portrait Award 2013 National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London WC2H 0HE
- telephone - 020 7321 6600
- email - email@example.com
- National Portrait Gallery
- Art Competitions in the UK - Resources for Artists
- Portraiture - Resources for Artists