Figurative artist Carl Randall in Tokyo, working on his Japan paintings.

Carl Randall is a British figurative painter whose work is based on images of modern Japan, and more recently London. A graduate of The Slade School of Fine Art, The Royal Drawing School London, and Tokyo University of Arts Japan, he is the winner of the BP Travel Award at The National Portrait Gallery, The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, and The Nomura Art Prize Japan. He has had several solo exhibitions in London and Tokyo, with group exhibitions at Christies New York, The Royal Academy of Arts, The Jerwood Gallery, The Mall Galleries, The National Portrait Gallery, Tokyo Art Award, Tokyo Metropolitan Arts Museum Japan, and has participated at art fairs in Switzerland, Turkey and Taiwan. His work has been the featured on the BBC World Service, and can be found in the collections of University College London Museum, Tokyo Geidai Museum Japan, Foundation Carmignac Paris, and The Royal Collection (commissioned by HRH Prince of Wales). He was invited to be artist in residence in Hiroshima City to paint portraits of survivors of the Atomic Bomb, and at the Formula 1 Races Japan. His display of sixteen Japan paintings at the National Portrait Gallery in 2013 was accompanied by 'Japan Portraits' - a catalogue illustrating paintings and drawings made during his 10 years living in Tokyo, and a documentary video showing him painting in Tokyo and Hiroshima.

His time spent in Japan, as both a Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation and MEXT scholar, was used to develop his interest in painting and Japanese culture, creating images of everyday life in contemporary Japan as seen through the eyes of a visiting foreign artist. A series of large black and white canvases depict densely packed groups of faces inspired by the crowds of Tokyo - a response to urban issues such as overpopulation, isolation, the anonymity of the city dweller, and people occupying the same close public spaces yet psychologically isolated from one another (a phenomena that can be observed in large metropolises such as Tokyo). These paintings were made in collaboration with over one thousand residents of Tokyo city, each volunteering to sit for their portraits - all heads being painted directly from life, without use of photographs. Other works combine people and places, narrative compositions depicting everyday scenes of urban and rural Japan - streets, shops, trains, cityscapes, landscapes. Some were commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery in London after winning the BP Travel Award - his proposal being to document the people and places of contemporary Japan along the 'Tokaido Highway' (a route running from Tokyo to Kyoto, as depicted in the woodblock prints of Ando Hiroshige). 

'London Portraits' are a series of 15 paintings made upon Randall's return to the UK, of people who have contributed to their fields in British society and culture. Each sitter was asked to choose a location in London for the background of their portraits. Participants include: Actress Julie Walters, Newscaster Jon Snow, Comedienne Jo Brand, Animator Nick Park, Author/Illustrator Raymond Briggs, Novelist David Mitchell, Actress Katie Leung, Illustrator Dave McKean, Poet Benjamin Zephaniah, Movie producer Jeremy Thomas, Film-maker Julien Temple, Poet Simon Armitage, Dancer Akram Khan, Zoologist Desmond Morris, Actor Sir Antony Sher and Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company Gregory Doran. An insight into this project can be seen in the documentary video 'London Portraits', where sitters explain their choice of location for the backdrop of their portrait. Prints of these paintings are presently on display and sale at the print room of The National Portrait Gallery, London.

His early work predominantly features architectural work made at The Slade School - scenes of isolation and disquiet depicted in North-London nightscapes. A solitary mood created by the absence of human presence, lit windows of buildings suggesting private hidden interiors as glimpsed from the outside. Mood and atmosphere are important to these works, the play of light and shadow on buildings being used to create a sense of drama and mystery. He also produced three-dimensional architectural work relief paintings that mediate between sculpture and painting, built out of the surface using wood and metal. Some are constructed so as to give the illusion of a great distance in a very shallow space, whilst others play with traditional perspective by reversing foreground and background. His early interest in portraiture can be seen in small pencil and ink sketches made directly from life of family, friends, elderly people and a selection of self portraits.


Education

2006-2012 Tokyo University of Arts (Tokyo Geidai). Tokyo, Japan. MFA and Ph.D. in Fine Art (Painting). 

2003-2005 Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation Scholar. 20 months working in Tokyo Japan as an artist, whilst gaining lasting knowledge of Japanese language & culture.

2002-2003 The Royal Drawing School, London. The Drawing Year 2003.

1995-1999 The Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. BA Honours Degree in Fine Art (Painting).

Solo Exhibitions

2014 Shōzō [肖像]. Berloni, London.

2014 Portaits from Edo to the Present. The Shizuoka City Tokaido Hiroshige Museum, Japan.

2014 Tokyo Portraits. The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, London.

2013/14 In The Footsteps of Ando Hiroshige – The Tokaido Highway and Portraits of Modern Japan, The National Portrait Gallery, London; The Aberdeen Art Museum, Scotland; Wolverhampton Art Museum. A display of 17 Japan-based paintings, as a result of winning the 2012 BP Travel Award.

2009 Tokyo Portraits: Recent Paintings & Drawings. Bunkyo Arts, Fuma Contemporary. Tokyo.

2006 Works on paper: Recent Portraits. The Japan-British Society, Tokyo, Japan.

Selected Group Exhibitions

2016 London Portraits. Print display of portraits of 15 people who have contributed to British culture and society. The National Portrait Gallery London, Print Gallery.

2016 Drawings from the Royal Drawing School. Christies New York, U.S.A.

2016 Last of the Tide: Portraits of D-Day Veterans. Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, Scotland.

2015 ArtInternational. Istanbul, Turkey.

2015 Last of the Tide: Portraits of D-Day Veterans. The Queens Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London.

2014 Art Volta. Basel, Switzerland.

2013 BP Portrait Awards. The National Portrait Gallery, London; The Aberdeen Art Gallery, Scotland; The Wolverhampton Art Gallery, England.

2013 RA Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts.

2013 Slade Print Fair, The Slade School, UCL.

2012 Art Taipei. Taipei City, Taiwan.

2012 BP Portrait Awards. The National Portrait Gallery, London; Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh; Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter.

2012 Royal Society of Portrait Painters Exhibition. The Mall Galleries, London.

2012 Jerwood Drawing Prize. Jerwood Space, London; Jerwood Gallery, Hastings; mac, Birmingham; The Gallery, Bournemouth University.

2011 Doctorate Course Final Exhibition. Tokyo Geidai Museum, Tokyo, Japan.

2010 Works on Paper. Gallery Ichimaenoe, Ginza, Tokyo.

2009 RA Summer Exhibition. Royal Academy of Arts, London. Invited to be guest artist by Mick Rooney RA.

2009 Tokyo Art Award. Gyoko Gallery. Maranouchi, Tokyo (exhibition of best 2009 graduate artists in Japan).

2009 MFA Exhibition. Tokyo Geidai Museum, Japan.

2007 Fresh Eyes on Formula 1. Mayfair Hotel, London.

2005 Hiroshima Art Document. Bank of Japan, Hiroshima City, Japan. Exhibition of international artists marking 60th anniversary of nuclear event in Hiroshima.

2005 Vol.2, U-35. The Red Brick Building. Yokohama, Japan. Exhibition of Japanese and Western artists.

2005 Six Faces. OS Gallery. Ginza, Tokyo, Japan.

2004 Being Present - Eight Painters. The Jerwood Gallery, London. 8 young emerging figurative painters.

2004 Japan Arts. Tokyo Metropolitan Museum Of Art, Tokyo, Japan.

2003 RA Summer Exhibition. Royal Academy of Arts.

2003 Drawing Year Graduate Exhibition. The Princes Drawing School, London.

2003 Movements on Paper. Broadway Gallery, Cardiff.

2002 BP Portrait Awards. The National Portrait Gallery, London; The Aberdeen Art Gallery, Scotland.

2002 French landscapes. The Forbes Chateau De Balleroy, France.

2001 The Art Fair. Business Design Center, London.

2000 Royal British Artists Exhibition. Mall Galleries.

2000 The Art Fair. Business Design Center, London. 

1999 BA Degree Show. Slade School of Fine Art UCL.

1999 The Students Gallery. South Wimbledon, London.

1998 Sunday Times Watercolour Competition Exhibition (1st Prize Winner). Mall Galleries, London; Philips, Leeds; Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester; Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, Birmingham.

1998 Chelsea Arts. Chelsea Arts Society, London.

Prizes, Scholarships & Awards

2012 BP Travel Award, awarded by The National Portrait Gallery London. Prize open to international applicants, to travel and produce an innovative portrait-based project for display at the National Portrait Gallery (then toured to Aberdeen and Wolverhampton).

2011 Nomura Art Prize, awarded by Tokyo Geidai University, for best graduate Doctorate work. Painting bought by Geidai Museum for its permanent collection.

2009 Keiseikai Foundation Scholarship, awarded to support artist in residency in Hiroshima, Japan.

2007 Formula 1 Artist in Residency, awarded by ING to represent Japan as artist in residence at the 2007 Japan Formula 1 Races. Work produced exhibited at ‘Fresh Eyes on Formula 1’ - a contemporary art exhibition in London, featuring artists chosen to represent various F1 races throughout the world.

2006-2011 MEXT Scholarship (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology). Japanese Government scholarship to support Fine Art (Painting) studies at Tokyo Geidai University, Japan.

2005 The Gen Foundation & The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Scholarships, to support exhibitions and art projects in Japan.

2003-2005 Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation Scholar. 20 months working in Tokyo Japan as an artist, whilst gaining lasting knowledge of Japanese language & culture.

2000 John Adams Fine Art Award, awarded by Royal Society of British Artists, Mall Galleries, London.

1999 Duveen Travel Scholarship, awarded by the Slade School of Fine Art (UCL), for two months study travel to visit art museums and galleries in Italy.

1998 Sunday Times Watercolour Competition - 1st Prize. National annual UK watercolour competition, with over 1200 entries (£15000 1st prize).

1997 William Coldstream Painting Competition, 2nd Prize. Annual University painting competition awarded by the Slade School of Fine Art.

1996 William Coldstream Painting Competition, 2nd Prize. Annual University painting competition awarded by the Slade School of Fine Art.

1996 Railtrack/Slade School Painting Competition, 1st Prize. Awarded by the Slade School of Fine Art & Railtrack PLC.

Residencies

2006/08 Artist in residence, Hiroshima City, Japan. To paint portraits of survivors of the atomic bomb for 'Hiroshima Art Document' - an exhibition of international artists marking 60th anniversary of nuclear event in Hiroshima.

2007 Artist in residence,  Fuji Speedway, Shizuoka, Japan. To paint the Formula 1 Races for ‘Fresh Eyes on Formula 1’ - a contemporary art exhibition in London, featuring artists chosen to represent various F1 races throughout the world.

Publications

2014 ‘Carl Randall: Shōzō’. Solo exhibition catalogue, published by Berloni Gallery, London.

2013 ‘Japan Portraits’. 120 page full colour catalogue illustrating paintings and drawings made in Japan. Foreword by English author Desmond Morris and introduction by Japan writer Donald Richie. On sale at The National Portrait Gallery London. Bilingual English/Japanese. ISBN: 978-0-9926089-0-3. 

2013 The BP Portrait Award Catalogue. Special 8-page feature of BP Travel Award work, with essay written by Carl Randall, illustrated with paintings made in Japan. Published by The National Portrait Gallery, London.

Selected Press/Reviews

2016 'Painting the Faces of Japan's crowded cities'. BBC World Service: World Update. Interview with Carl Randall about Japan artwork (2min video).

2016 'London Portraits'. Short documentary of Randall's most recent painting project in London (11min video).

2014 Modern Weekly, China’s largest culture/arts magazine. Article & interview about Japan work (April issue).

2014 Mainichi Shimbun (one of Japan’s largest newspapers). Article & interview about Japan work (April issue).

2014 Japan Update Weekly Magazine, London (Feb. issue).

2013 'Japan Portraits'. Short documentary of artist painting and drawing in Japan (11mins 33secs video). 

2013 Artists & Illustrators Magazine. "Tomorrows World": 4-page article about 2012 BP Travel Award show at The National Portrait Gallery (August issue, page 34 – 37).

2013 The Jackdaw Magazine, London. "Easel Words - Carl Randall": article about 2012 BP Travel Award show at National Portrait Gallery (July/August issue, page 28).

2013 Yomiuri Shimbun (one of Japan’s largest newspapers). 

2013 Glass Magazine. Article & interview about Japan work.

2013 yoo.com. Article & interview about Japan work (Aug. issue).

2007 Car & Driver Magazine, Japan. “ING Fresh Eyes on Formula 1”. Article about F1 artist in residency (Dec. issue).

1998 The Sunday Times. "Fresh Fields, New Faces”. Article about winning 1st prize in the 1998 Singer & Friedlander/Sunday Times Watercolour Competition (6 September, pages 8-9).

Artists Talks

2015 London Art Fair, Business Design Centre. ‘Art, Identity, Migration’. In association with Ben Uri Gallery London.

2015 University College London Museum.‘Hibakusha Portraits, Hiroshima’.

2014 Berloni Gallery, London. In conjunction with solo exhibition of Japan work Shōzō [肖像].

2014 The Shizuoka City Hiroshige Tokaido Museum, Japan. ‘Portraits from Edo to the Present’.

2014 The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, London. In conjunction with solo exhibition 'Tokyo Portraits', and in discussion with Andrew Stahl, Head of Painting at The Slade School of Fine Art. 

2014 Charterhouse School, Surrey, UK. ‘Japan Portraits’

2013 The Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. ‘Japan Portraits’

2013 Cambridge University. ‘Japan Portraits’.

2013 The National Portrait Gallery, London. ‘2012 BP Travel Award – Portraits of Modern Japan’.

2011 Tokyo Geidai Museum, Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo Portraits: Expressions of Community & Isolation.

2005 The British Embassy, Tokyo, Japan. ‘Works on Paper: Portraits of Modern Japan’.

2004 The British Council, Tokyo, Japan. ‘Contemporary Painting in the UK’.

Collections
Foundation Carmignac, Paris France
University College London Museum
Tokyo Geidai Museum, Tokyo Japan
Singer and Friedlander Bank, London

The Royal Collection (commissioned by HRH Prince of Wales)
The Shizuoka City Tokaido Hiroshige Museum of Art, Japan
The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, London
Fuma Contemporary Tokyo, Japan
Railtrack PLC, London

Berloni London