Local arist Emil Nikolla brushed aside for television’s Portait final

PUBLISHED: 14:19 11 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:19 11 April 2019

Emil with Hollywood star Adrian Lester and his portrait

Emil with Hollywood star Adrian Lester and his portrait


An artist from Beckenham narrowly missed out on making it to the final of the popular television contest Portrait Artist of the Year.

Emil makes his finishing touchesEmil makes his finishing touches

The Sky Arts series has been enthralling viewers for weeks, as they watched Emil Nikolla work his way through the various rounds.

He reached the semi-finals, but just missed out on making it to the final.

The judges were award winning artist Tai Shan Schierenberg, independent curator Kathleen Soriano and art historian Kate Bryan.

Emil, 47, drives a bus, teaches art and paints. He studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts, Greece’s premier art school and has exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

Emil with some of his workEmil with some of his work

He said: “It was an incredible experience. I know where I went wrong in the semi-final – I ended up too far away from the one model. There were nine of us working at the same time with one model. In the other rounds there were fewer of us and we were all able to get closer.

“I should have used the tablet to get a better look at details.

“The result was still fair, and I am happy with how far I got in the competition.

“Now I want to enter again and am preparing more paintings. I also want to go in for Landscape Artist of the Year and am getting some landscapes of Bromley done so I can enter with those.

“I am really looking forward to it, and hope my entry will be accepted. It is a great experience and one I want to do all over again. I will have learned from my mistakes this time and hope to do better, although making it to the semis was already pretty good.”

The series has been running for the past eight weeks with art lovers glued to their sets for the hour-long shows.

The overall winner will eventually be commissioned to paint a portrait of Sir Tom Jones, which will hang in the permanent collection at The National Museum of Wales, and it will be shown straight after the winning programme. Models over the eight weeks have included Jodie Kidd, James Purefoy, Beverley Knight, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Angela Griffin, Gina McKee, Jamael Westman and the final heat featured Jodie Comer, Daniel Lismore and Nick Moran.

Each celebrity sitter was allowed to keep one of their finished portraits

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