Craig Wylie, 35-year-old London artist wins BP Portrait Award

National Portrait Gallery – London

ON MONDAY 16 JUNE the winner of the BP Portrait Award 2008 was announced by Ian Hislop at the National Portrait Gallery. In a record-breaking year for entries from non-UK artists, the prestigious first prize was won by 35-year-old London artist Craig Wylie. His winning portrait, K (oil on canvas, 2100 x 1650 mm), is an epic study of his girlfriend Katherine Raw based on sittings at his Hackney Wick studio. Craig wins £25,000 and a commission, at the National Portrait Gallery Trustees’ discretion, worth £4,000.

© Craig Wylie\

K by Craig Wylie
Copyright: © Craig Wylie

Craig Wylie

Craig Wylie (b 17.06.1973), who turns 35 today (17 June) was shortlisted for the first time this year, having been included in the BP Portrait Award exhibition for the past three years. His winning portrait of his girlfriend, Katherine Raw, is based on sittings from his Hackney Wick studio in 2005. He made two previous attempts at the painting through 2006, starting the final version in 2007. ‘On one level the viewer’s intrusion into the sitter’s emotional state is tacitly accepted,’ he says, ‘on another it is positively rebuffed.’ Craig now lives and works in London. He graduated in fine art from Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa in 1996 and has exhibited widely.


55 portraits – 38 from the UK and 17 from abroad – have been selected for the exhibition which runs at the National Portrait Gallery – London from 12 June to 14 September.

The BP Portrait Award is the most prestigious portrait competition in the world, promoting the very best in contemporary portrait painting.

An annual competition aimed at encouraging artists to focus upon and develop the theme of portraiture in their work, the Award is open to everyone aged 18 and over in recognition of the outstanding and innovative work currently being produced by artists of all ages. With a first-prize of £25,000 the exhibition has proved the launch pad for the careers of a number of successful portrait artists.

BP Portrait Award 2008

  1. First Prize : Craig Wylie (b 17.06.1973 ) for portrait, K (oil on canvas, 2100 x 1650 mm )
  2. Second Prize: Simon Davis (b 08.06.1968 ) for Portrait of Amanda Smith at Vincent Avenue (oil on board, 650 x 398 mm)
  3. Third Prize: Robert O’Brien (b 24.02.1978 ) for Hannah O’Brien (oil on board, 300 x 400 mm).
  4. Young Artist Award: Peiyuan Jiang (b 05.10.1983 ) for Untitled (oil and acrylic on canvas, 700 x 800 mm)

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~ by Stampfli & Turci on June 30, 2008.

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