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Artist Chris Levine on Art, Light and His Most Famous Sitters

We spoke to the artist about Queen Elizabeth II, Kate Moss & Grace Jones

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This month sees the return of Chris Levine, with a new exhibition at The Fine Art Society, opening 24 April.  The exhibition will showcase his famed 3D portraits, including British icons such as Naomi Campbell, Paul Smith and Sir Ranulph Fiennes. 

‘Who are wE_+’ unveils a host of exciting new works by Levine, the artist whose sensational 3D portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was dubbed ‘one of the most iconic images of the 21st century’. Levine employs new media for the portraits to create pioneering images and unveils new sides to these important figures – the aim to unlock their physical and spiritual light. Until 19 May.

chris levine portrait interview


Below, we chat to the artist Chris Levine about his famous sitters, latest exhibition and portraiture…

What can we expect from your new exhibition “WHO ARE WE_+”?
I’ve been lucky to attract some truly iconic subjects for my work and this show includes the latest from Sir Ranulph Fiennes to Naomi Campbell and Sir Paul Smith. Each interaction with every subject is different but ultimately it’s about making a soulful connection that in turn then connects to the viewer. We are truly as one and the soul is the connection.

What is it about portraiture that attracts you to it?
It’s something I thought I might do later on in my career but one thing has led to another since the Queen and now I feel somehow I’m meant to be doing this. To be meeting such luminary people has been a great honour and I’m following this course of events it seems to be leading me.

How much of a sitters’ personality do you try to convey in your portrait of them?
Actually, I find it’s about connecting with the soul and to do that you need to get past the personality. It’s at the level of the soul where it gets real and my challenge as an artist is to make that connection and allow it to express from the finished work.

What process goes into creating these portraits and their 3D quality? How is that achieved?
I have a long term collaborator in the field of 3D imaging, Jeff Robb, who I consider the best in the field. We have worked on all my portraits since the Queen and behind each work is years of perfecting a craft that has set new standards. There is a huge amount of technical prowess tuned to an artistic output and it’s a challenge that the emotion doesn’t get lost in the technical translation of the medium.

Who has been your favourite sitter (ever or for this exhibition) and why?
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the Queen …or Kate, or Naomi, or Grace or His Holiness. Each sitter has been so very different and unique and all of them so obliging with me in creating the work. I pinch myself sometimes it can get quite surreal.

MORE CULTURE: 5 Artists Who Have Immortalised The Royal Family / The April Diary: What to do This Month