Posted: Sat 15th Aug 2015

Artist Draws on Experience at Glyndwr University to Achieve National Portrait Success

This article is old - Published: Saturday, Aug 15th, 2015

An artist who drew upon on his experiences at Glyndŵr University has beaten thousands of people to a top portrait prize.

Steve Caldwell picked up the Samuel Bath Ltd Prize at the RBSA Portrait Prize Exhibition in Birmingham for ‘Jack’, a still-life drawing praised by judges.

Born in Lancashire and brought up on Merseyside, the 43-year-old was also selected for The BP Portrait Award exhibition for the second year running with another piece of incredible work, entitled ‘Simon’.

Having studied Medical Illustration in Wrexham from 1992 to 1994, Steve went on to become a professional artist the following year and counts his time at Glyndŵr’s North Wales School of Art and Design (NWSAD) – then part of the North East Wales Institute – as a major inspiration.

Speaking about his time at Glyndwr University, Steve said: “Studying in Wrexham helped me in various ways. I learnt a lot from the staff and fellow students about illustration and portraying the human form, and life drawing classes were particularly helpful.

“Work experience was also a vital element of the degree, and I spent my time with a professional illustrator, which helped me on my back to becoming an artist and portrait painter.”

Recruited initially by a London agency, Steve has since worked extensively in publishing, advertising and on commissions for private clients.

This has led him to commercial and critical acclaim, and recognition amongst his peers.

Steve added: “To be recognised for my BP portrait of ‘Simon’ is a huge honour. It was inspired by the sitter. I thought he had a lot of presence and a unique visual identity and wanted to explore this in detail within the portrait.

“I was both very proud and surprised to have been selected for The BP Portrait Award exhibition for the second year in a row. Considering there were almost 3000 entries, I feel very fortunate indeed.”

NWSAD senior lecturer Pauline Amphlett praised Steve for his “brilliant” work and said he is a credit to the university.

“Steve is one of our most talented alumni, he is a brilliant portrait artist and I’m thrilled to see him doing so well and being nominated – and winning recognition – at such prestigious awards ceremonies,” she said.

“He is one of many artists who have left Glyndŵr University and gone on to great things. We may only be a small institution but we punch well above our weight when it comes to the creative industries because we care so much about our students and believe giving them a firm foundation on which to build on is crucial to their future careers.”

Steve’s success follows the achievement of fellow NWSAD graduate Ivana Milchanska, who was among 16 finalists contesting the Irish Times’ Amateur Photographer of the Year Awards 2015.

More than 7,000 images were whittled down to just 16, with Ivana’s picture Artists in life among the chosen few.

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