Bournemouth Legend in Portrait Prize

Posted on: February 16, 2012

A local urban artist known as ‘Soap’ has high hopes for winning the National Portrait Gallery‘s BP Prize with his latest unique portrait.

The prized piece depicts the face of Bournemouth legend Gordon Roberts, better known as Gordon ‘the tramp’ or ‘the timelord’, who is renowned in the area for his remarkable ability to tell the time correctly without wearing a watch.

Metropolis Artworks in Westbourne have invited members of the public to their gallery to see the portrait before it enters the national competition next month.

‘Soap’, otherwise known as Adam Klodzinski, has been represented by the gallery for two years. Originally from Poland, the 30 year old works from his studio in Pokesdown, Boscombe, where he practices freehand airbrushing.

Soap recently won local’s admiration with his graffiti-inspired piece commissioned by National Rail at Pokesdown train station. The freehand artist has previously crafted portraits of urban idols Rihanna, Professor Green and Amy Winehouse amongst others, garnering himself a large online following. Dizzee Rascal has even professed himself a fan and the rapper honoured Soap’s work by setting his portrait as his Twitter image. “Music has always played a massive part” says Soap, who names hip-hop culture as an inspiration.

His most recent masterpiece, however, depicts a famous face a little closer to home. Despite not being homeless, Gordon the tramp has become famed for wondering the town’s streets and sporting his trademark white beard and football scarf. “Gordon is so well known around here and people admire him” explains Soap. “I’ve taken Professor Green for a kebab and got less attention than Gordon does in Bournemouth town centre!” he laughs.

The local hero has made national headlines several times for his internet stardom and popularity in Bournemouth, whilst last year thousands of supporters even joined a campaign for the 78-year old to carry the Olympic Torch for London 2012. Gordon’s latest venture takes him into the world of art, through Soap’s incredibly lifelike paintings.

“When an urban artist, better known for his street work, immortalises him it forces a whole new generation to question how they see the elderly and the vulnerable in our community” says Metropolis Artworks owner, Vicki Angus.

Each year the gallery selects one of their artists’ pieces to be submitted to the prestigious award, alongside thousands of other hopefuls. Metropolis are backing this year’s entry with great confidence. “We wish him every success” Vicki added.

‘The Timelord of Bournemouth’ is expected to showcase at the gallery until March 10th, when a celebratory night hopes to invite members of the public to meet Soap and of course, Gordon himself.

Check out the video below & others on Soap’s YouTube channel to see his work being made through the stages…


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