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Gallery of stars exhibited at the Royal Albert Hall

30 April, 2012


Photo real paintings of famous musicians to be shown at iconic venue

Joe Simpson: Musician Portraits
Tuesday 29 May – Sunday 10 June
Royal Albert Hall

April 2012: Figurative painter Joe Simpson will be displaying his series of photo-real paintings featuring contemporary music icons in partnership with UK Charity the Royal Albert Hall this summer.

The exhibition sees the celebrities captured in incredible detail in a range of situations and poses, from close personal moments at home, to moments backstage when getting ready for  the frenetic action of live performance.

Joe’s Musician Portraits exhibition, which features Brandon Flowers, Mark Ronson, Paloma Faith, Maxi Jazz, David Gray, Jamie Cullum and Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) among others, will be displayed as part of the Hall’s reflect series from Tuesday 29 May- Sunday 10 June.

Head of Programming, Lucy Noble comments: “We’re incredibly lucky to be exhibiting Joe’s paintings, some of which have been shown in the best galleries in the world. The exhibition marks our latest instalment in the reflect series, which aims to provide greater access to the arts by showcasing bodies of work from a broad selection of artists”.

There are 22 paintings in this free exhibition, each piece Oil on Canvas, sized 60 x 60 cm. Joe approached his favourite musicians from a wide range of musical genres and nationalities to include in the series. Once the subjects agreed to be included, Joe met up with each artist to take original photographs to work from to create an original oil painting.

Over a year in the making, the project has taken Joe all over the country - to visiting the musician’s houses and studios, to backstage at arena concerts and festivals and as far as Las Vegas to meet Brandon Flowers. Joe’s portrait of Maxi Jazz from the series was shortlisted for the prestigious BP Portrait Award 2011. The painting has been exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery in an exhibition which has been the most popular show in the gallery’s history.

Joe Simpson currently lives and works in London. His paintings have been shown both nationally and internationally, including prestigious venues such as The National Portrait Gallery, Manchester City Art Gallery, Cornerhouse and The House of Commons.

Joe said: “I’ve tried to root each painting in a tradition of painted portraiture – each piece has a quiet, still and almost introspective feel to them. I’d tried to capture the way that each person held themselves when I met them, usually I didn’t give the musicians a great deal of direction, or plan how I wanted the piece to turn out. These paintings have physicality to them that you don’t get with a photograph, the paint has a specific weight and application - you can see layers and brushmarks in the hair and skin tones. I’m really excited to see all the paintings together for the first time.

I'm really looking forward to exhibiting these paintings in such a prestigious venue that has a long history of hosting live performances by some iconic musicians”

The exhibition is free and runs from Tuesday 29 May – Sunday 10 June around the ground floor corridor of the Royal Albert Hall. It can be viewed when attending performances at the Hall or during these free open days:

Sunday 3 June 9am – 12.30pm
Saturday 9 June 11am – 3pm
Sunday 10 June 11am – 3pm

30th May 6.30pm - 9pm.
There will be a private view in door 6 with a short spoken word / poetry performance by artist Scroobius Pip in the East Arena Foyer from 7.30pm - 8pm

Notes to editors
For more information, interviews, images, and to RSVP for the Private View please contact:
Khaled Khawaja   020 7861 3162 / 
Nicola Hamilton   020 7861 3189 / 

For the Royal Albert Hall please contact:
Sean Carrigan      020 7959 0531/

Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is the world’s most famous stage. Its breathtaking auditorium hosts over 370 shows a year by the world’s greatest artists. The magical atmosphere combined with inspired artists creates legendary events.  Opened in 1871 as part of Prince Albert’s vision for
a centre for the Arts and Sciences, and a registered charity operating without public funding, it remains true to his founding ambitions within a modern context.

Extending the brand with over 120 events outside the auditorium, the Hall has broadened its appeal to younger, diverse audiences whilst still engaging its existing customers. It also works extensively with schools and young people through its Education programme, reaching over 30,000 participants each year.
For more information please visit 
Registered charity no: 254543

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