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Cranham artist competes in Sky Arts' Portrait Artist of the Year series

PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 March 2019

Tom Mead from Cranham painting David Lismore. Tom is competing against eight other artists in this year's Portrait Artist of the Year series. Photo: Storyvault Films

Tom Mead from Cranham painting David Lismore. Tom is competing against eight other artists in this year's Portrait Artist of the Year series. Photo: Storyvault Films

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A young artist from Cranham was selected out of thousands of contenders to compete in a TV series that crowns Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year.

Tom Mead from Cranham is competing against eight other artists in this year's Portrait Artist of the Year series. Photo: Storyvault FilmsTom Mead from Cranham is competing against eight other artists in this year's Portrait Artist of the Year series. Photo: Storyvault Films

Tom Mead, a 21-year-old amateur artist from Clyde Crescent, was chosen to compete with eight other artists in the final heat of this year’s Portrait Artist of the Year series.

Viewers see 24 celebrity sitters over eight weeks of heats from the world of film, television, music and sport on the show, with this final episode featuring Jodie Cromer, Daniel Lismore and Nick Moran.

Tom told the Recorder: “I’m a big fan of the show, so to find out I’d be part of it and meet the judges was so exciting.

“Then I realised how many people are going to watch me paint and it became a bit terrifying.

“I practiced a lot at home as I wanted to do as much of my painting from life as possible.”

The winner from the final heat will join seven other heat winners to paint British jazz legend Courtney Pine MBE in the semi-final.

Tom added: “The experience on the day was fantastic, meeting the other artists from a variety of backgrounds and all being in the same boat helped me through it.

“I had prepared for many types of celebrity sitters, but I was definitely not prepared for who I got.

“The extra challenge of my sitter put more pressure on me, but the film crew does a great job of making you feel comfortable.”

Returning judges on the show are award winning artist Tai Shan Schierenberg, independent curator Kathleen Soriano and art historian Kate Bryan.

The show, produced by Storyvault Films, is presented by actor and art lover Stephen Managan and Joan Bakewell.

Stephen said: “I was delighted to join Joan for the return of Sky Arts’ Portrait Artist of the Year.

“Painting done well is a kind of magic, painting done by me is a crime - so it was both a privilege and a relief to watch artists with genuine talent work their magic.”

Tom’s episode will show on Sky Arts and Demand/Now TV on Tuesday, April 2.

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