Samuel Sultana

There are few artists you can feel an emotional connection to from the offset, but on the rare occasion that an artist does reach through the canvas, magic ensues. Samuel Sultana is one such creative. Currently working on a collaborative artists commune-type project, he is clearly well liked and respected for the work he is doing.

A painter at heart, Sultana acknowledges that these kind of labels can be restrictive. Looking at his work, one sees few limitations: boundless colors and shapes that morph in front of your eyes, each painting tells a story. The strength of the work lies in the composition of the pieces. Sultana tells me that he now treats ‘art as philosophy’, and one certainly perceives the intellectual in each of his artworks.

I have no doubt that Sultana’s creative process would be of exceptional interest to observe. When your philosophy is that ‘it is essential to use everything. Everything is the arsenal’, the product will inevitably be of celestial proportions.

Relying on ‘chaos, intensities, and extremes’, his work is in league with the likes of Willem de Kooning, Rothko, and more recently, Bryan Lewis Saunders. The environment is paramount to the success of the artwork: hence the idea behind his current project. In a nod to the Romantic, ‘isolation, solitude, and obsession’ also compute.

The diverse range of artists Sultana is currently working with reflect a global spirit, bent on redefining and redesigning the creative landscape in Bristol, where the project is based. He says the creative platform will encompass all media, from ‘fine art to film, music, and theater’, offering a chance for young artists to network and build a support base from which to flourish.

Equipped with the creative holy trinity of vision, faith, and obsession, I have no doubt this is an artist of the future. To view more of Sultana’s work, go to his facebook page here or youtube. He can also be contacted by email at ssul0011@gmail.com.

Harriet Dahan-Bouchard

To be in with the Old Masters, a student of portraiture must boldly go to where it all began. At the Florentine Charles H. Cecil Studios, there an art is taught so fine that fewer than one hundred artists in the UK are trained in this classical manner, and Harriet Dahan-Bouchard is one such practitioner.

Born in London to two artists, Harriet soon moved to Downside School, Somerset, where she spent most of her adolescent life. At the age of eight, her father bought her a book on Ingres, the book that would be the catalyst in finding her vocation; on receipt of this seminal work, Harriet asked her father, the surrealist painter Philip Bouchard, ‘is there money in it?’ Positively assured, her mind was set, and life was full of rigorous artistic training from henceforth.

I recently had the pleasure of sitting for a sanguine with Harriet. The process took approximately ten hours over four sittings, and the result is, I believe, a fabulous likeness. The patience and focus with which the artist commands the room is not at all unnerving, her passion is sincere and dedicated, and her talent indisputable. This process brought to my attention the wonderful rarity of a talent and technique like Harriet’s.

From that early age of eight, the artist honed her skills, which came to fruition whilst studying in Florence. The program is a strict three years, divided into drawing (nudes and portraits), painting, and painting in oil. Students here are taught a traditional method of creation, dating back to the 16th century, called sight sizing. In this method, the sitter is placed directly next to the canvas and the artist moves from looking at the sitter meters away to the canvas, in constant motion and watchfulness. Proportion remains accurate and the result is visual exactitude.

Harriet currently works as a portrait artist from Somerset, and takes commissions for oils and sanguine. She is also exhibiting some of her work at theBathbranch of Urban Outfitters until November, in which the clash of classical and modern is at once both intriguing and completely natural given that Harriet, as the artist, breaches both of these worlds.

She is also soon to be featured on the new art community website called ‘MeMyArt’, a buying and selling site that also offers an insight into the creative process’ of countless young artists. The feature will be on her approach to art, which for any budding young painters is necessary read.

This is an artist worth watching. Harriet is at the forefront of a generation of artists and writers dedicated to traditional technique and original inspiration, and her emergence onto the art market signifies the begins of an extremely exciting artistic renaissance.

Harriet is currently available for commission and can be contacted at harrietdahanbouchard@gmail.com.