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Ania Hobson, BP Young Portrait Artist of the Year, stages homecoming exhibition in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 12:58 25 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:58 25 October 2018

Ania Hobson in the gallery space at Asylum Studios where she is staging her first Suffolk show since becoming the BP Young Portrait Artist of the Year. Photo: Andrew Clarke

Ania Hobson in the gallery space at Asylum Studios where she is staging her first Suffolk show since becoming the BP Young Portrait Artist of the Year. Photo: Andrew Clarke

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Ania Hobson has had a golden year. The artist is celebrating being declared the BP Young Artist of the Year by staging a show of her latest work in her home county. Arts editor Andrew Clarke went along to take a look

Ania Hobson portrait ' Girl in Ripped Jeans' part of a new exhibition at Asylum Studios on the former RAF Bentwaters base. Photo: Ania HobsonAnia Hobson portrait ' Girl in Ripped Jeans' part of a new exhibition at Asylum Studios on the former RAF Bentwaters base. Photo: Ania Hobson

Suffolk artist Ania Hobson is celebrating – 2018 has been a momentous year so far, having been declared The BP Young Artist of the Year as part of the prestigious annual BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery.

The 28 year old artist is marking the occasion by staging a show of new work at The Asylum Studios on the former Bentwaters airbase. The award is given to artists aged between 18 and 30 showing exceptional promise.

Portraits on show in this latest exhibition show that she is not standing still. She works on an increasingly large scale, in a direct, arresting style, using powerful colours which make an immediate impact.

Ania Hobson in the gallery space at Asylum Studios where she is staging her first Suffolk show since becoming the BP Young Portrait Artist of the Year. Photo: Ania HobsonAnia Hobson in the gallery space at Asylum Studios where she is staging her first Suffolk show since becoming the BP Young Portrait Artist of the Year. Photo: Ania Hobson

New works such as ‘Graveyard’ reveal an increasing complexity in her work and an emergence of a narrative within the composition. This builds on Ania’s ability to create a sense of mystery around her sitters. They seem lost in their own thoughts and that provokes a dialogue between the viewer and the image. It also means that your relationship and your view of the picture changes on each encounter.

Ania’s sitters may appear enigmatic but they all have a strong sense of character. They clearly have a well defined sense of self which Ania picks up on and puts down on canvas.

She never paints a smile. Why? Because, she says: “That gives everything away.”

Ania Hobson 'Resting' part of her first Suffolk show since becoming the BP Young Portrait Artist of the Year. Photo: Ania HobsonAnia Hobson 'Resting' part of her first Suffolk show since becoming the BP Young Portrait Artist of the Year. Photo: Ania Hobson

Ania’s year of success has come after years of ploughing a lone furrow and just trying to do things better, going on courses, entering competitions and learning from other painters. “You have to have faith in yourself. Of course, you do doubt yourself from time to time. There are times when nothing seems to be happening. For instance, last year, I felt like chucking the whole thing in, nothing seemed to be going right, then I got accepted to exhibit in the BP Awards for the first time and everything changed, everything seemed different. People ask me what’s the secret to being a successful artist and I think it’s about believing in yourself, developing as an artist and just keep entering competitions and shows. Just keep getting your work out there.”

The former pupil of Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham studied at Suffolk College before completing a degree in Fine Art at the University of Suffolk. She followed this with short courses at the Prince’s Drawing School and Florence Academy of Art.

She is currently working towards a show ‘Personal Structures’ to be staged at the Venice Bienalle next year.

Ania Hobson is staging her first Suffolk show since becoming the BP Young Portrait Artist of the Year. Photo: Ania HobsonAnia Hobson is staging her first Suffolk show since becoming the BP Young Portrait Artist of the Year. Photo: Ania Hobson

Ania Hobson: A Series of Portraits is at Asylum Arts Studios,Bentwaters IP12 2TW until Saturday October 27.

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