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Alumnus Profile: Amit Vadher

5CDB4F8FA05C4FD2AB54A2C3CB1842EE(2)Amit Vadher, who graduated from the University of Portsmouth in 2011 after studying BA (Hons) Animation, recently took part in Sky Arts’ Portrait Artist of the Year.

See what he has to say about his time and University and his work since graduation below!

My name is Amit Vadher and I was born in London. I am a 28 year old artist who has always had a passion for all things creative from as long as I can remember. I studied for one year at Central St Martins doing an art foundation course.

Although I really enjoyed painting I wasn’t sure I wanted to do a fine art degree, as I believed it would be difficult to make a career out of it. So I continued painting as a hobby and it remains my number one passion.

I decided to do an animation degree for three years at the University of Portsmouth. I began painting practically anything that interested or inspired me from portraits, animals, landscapes and my Hindu heritage, but it became clear that I was drawn to portraiture.

Whilst at Portsmouth I realised that the course was very technical and that you had to be a quick learner with the software, which was something I found very difficult, but I was given an opportunity to be creative with the support of my tutors and incorporate my artistic ideas.

Dr Jackie West taught me every week in fine art and life drawing classes, which I always looked forward to. She taught me a lot about colour theory and technique which I still use today. Seeing her paintings and portraits were very inspiring.

For many years I just practised painting friends and family but I didn’t think I had a particular style. I tried finding inspiration whilst travelling for seven months around Asia and Australia, and on my arrival back home to London I realized that I wanted to take my painting more seriously and work towards having a exhibition one day in the future. I began experimenting more as an artist by trying to paint on different surfaces, and began testing using oil paint on different types of tile. I enjoyed the surface and the textured look it gave the portrait.

I have been watching the Portrait Artist of the Year every year and have always been inspired by watching it, but never thought I would be good enough to be on the show, especially because I didn’t think I could paint something in four hours. I was persuaded by two close friends of mine, Gina and Simon, to enter.

I submitted my self-portrait not expecting much to come from it – but was ecstatic when I got the call to be a part of the show! Participating has been one of my biggest achievements.

I would describe my painting style as monotone, with an influence of Rembrandt’s clair-obscur technique of heavy light and shadows. I also use patterns that are influenced from  Indian fabrics.

I have since been contacted by people about doing some portraits, but the best moment for me was being noticed and messaged by other artists who share the same passion of portraiture and the show.

I usually paint in isolation in my bedroom, so I was extremely nervous about painting in front of TV cameras. The day was very intense, but I made some good friends with the other contestants and it was a great opportunity for me to show case my work.

You can follow Amit on Twitter @AmitVadher1, or find him on Facebook here.

Cover image: Amit Vadher; medium: oil paint on concrete tile; dimensions: 60cm x40cm

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