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Christian Hook on ‘Portrait Artist of the Decade’ tonight

Christian Hook paints famous British actress Judi Dench during the filming of Sky Arts 'Portrait Artist of the Decade'. Photos courtesy of Sky Arts.

Nine years after winning Sky Arts ‘Portrait Artist of the Year’ Christian Hook has returned to the competition for a special retrospective episode.

‘Portrait Artist of the Decade’, which sees the winners of the series return for one episode, will be broadcast tonight at 9pm on Sky Arts.

The artists were given the brief to paint famous British actress Dame Judi Dench in a bid to win the title of best portrait painter of the decade.

But Mr Hook agreed to the show without knowing there was a competitive element.

“At first there wasn't pressure, it wasn't meant to have a prize either,” he told the Chronicle.

“When they asked me if I wanted to join, just like the others, they said, there's going to be no winner. So I thought, okay, I'll go.”

Whilst they were painting, the competition was sprung on the artists.

“We all went with that intention of not competing,” he said.

“I think that if they would have said that I think I wouldn't have entered, and neither would the [other artists] have entered for a competition again that you've already won.”

He added it was great to see the artists and judges again.

“Some of the artists were brilliant, and I met Judy Dench as well.”

“She was lovely as well.”

Tonight’s show, recorded months ago, will see prizes awarded for the top artist.

Mr Hook said that 2023 has been one of his most successful years yet, with his work exhibited in the V&A Museum in London and one of his portraits in consideration for an upcoming exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery.

He has also spent his time travelling and is set to launch his latest collection on October 19 at the Clarendon Fine Art gallery in Mayfair, London.

The collection of over 20 pieces called ‘The Anatomy of a Concept’ is a 10-year retrospective, with most works already sold to buyers before the launch.

Despite the financial climate being the worst in years to sell art, Mr Hook said the exhibition has shown strong success.

The pieces have been sold for around £170,000 to £350,000 and are in smaller canvas sizes than in past exhibitions, meaning the prices have effectively doubled.

“I'm looking back at subjects, but I'm doing something completely new,” Mr Hook said.

“I always do that, really. I never stick to a subject. Even if I do equestrian work, there's always, like, some bathers. I like to vary a little bit.”

Mr Hook has also been creating in the music and film, and he confirmed he has a film project with Netflix.

“The other day I sat down with the director of this idea for the movie for Netflix,” Mr Hook said.

“Two days later, I get a phone call from one of the top film teams in London asking me for content, and then these big screens are asking me for content.”

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