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Christian Hook named Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year

Cristian Hook Wins Prize

After another series of Sky Art's critically acclaimed and audience adored Portrait Artist of the Year Christian Hook has been named the victor of the competition and won the opportunity to paint a £10,000 commission to paint the portrait of award-winning actor Alan Cumming.

The competition began earlier in the year with heats held in Central London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Dublin which unearthed a series of incredible artists whose work may otherwise have never been featured in the public eye. As the programme progressed through to the semi-finals we saw seven artists paint a double portrait of of Anglican priest Sally Hitchiner and the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, well known for his outspoken take on organised religion. The finalists in the form of Annie Divine, Laura Quinn and Christian Hook then took to performing portraits of Amir Khan, Cicely Berry and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa alongside their own takes on Sir Ian McKellen.

It was a closely fought final and one which truly could have been won by any of the contestants, but ultimately Christian took home the top prize for his superb work across the entire programme and understanding of the people he was tasked with capturing.

Hook, who is 43 and from Gibraltar beat off competition from over 1,600 artists in order to win the title and his portrait of Mr Cumming will be on display at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery from the 30th of December. Along with the title, money and exposure, Christian also won a years worth of art supplies from the top art supplier supplier Cass Art. Christian studied illustration at Middlesex University before he began his career as an illustrator. He has also worked as a lecturer in illustration at the Royal Collage of Art as well as other universities as his interest has shifted towards the fine arts. The final was watched by millions live and hundreds of thousands through Sky's Catch Up services, and there have calls to the Sky customer services phone number wondering if there will be another series of the beloved programme.

On his victory, Christian Hook had this to say "“Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2014 has been an incredibly challenging feat and I am very proud to have won. It has allowed me to dig deep and push myself to new limits. I am truly honoured to have been given the opportunity to take part in this fantastic series. I’ve had the chance to work aside some of UK’s finest portrait artists and learn from them. Painting Sir Ian McKellen live at the National Portrait Gallery was a once in a lifetime experience that I’ll never forget.”

Kate Bryan, judge on the series, commented: "Christian creates work which interrogates the boundaries between figuration and abstraction beautifully, lending his sitters a unique sense of energy. I love the way his work is so filmic, it speaks of another era in some ways but yet feels totally new"

The series is still available to watch On Demand from Sky and preparations are already in place for the new series, which could air before the end of 2015.

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