Non Verbal Communication in Commissioned Portraiture

By Alastair Adams.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

My on-going studio practice and research engages issues surrounding representation, non-verbal communication and interpretation in current and historical painted commissioned portraiture.
For this presentation I will be reflecting upon a portrait, recently commissioned by Manchester Metropolitan University, of Dame Sandra Burslem. With reference to this work and that of selected other portrait artists, I seek to outline, within my current methods of practice, ideas and issues relating to representation within a commercial artistic framework. This will address working process, theory and research in response to institutionally commissioned portraits, a genre frought with artistic compromise due to limiting practical demands and social expectations. Throughout the presentation I will investigate depiction of character and narrative in a field where pictorial responses are often seen to illustrate personal qualities and values inherent in the subject that act as visual metaphors and statements about the aspirations, expectations and philosophy of the individual and institution.

Keywords: Portrait, Non-verbal Communication, Interpretation, Commission, Representation, Painting, Practice, Commercial

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 1, Issue 7, pp.71-76. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.755MB).

Alastair Adams

Lecturer in Illustration and Animation, School of Art and Design, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK

Further to graduating with a degree in illustration Alastair went on to spend the first ten years of his artistic career developing his skills as a professional portrait painter. Alastair regularly undertakes high profile commissions as a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and through his research at Loughborough University seeks to capitalise further upon the rapidly increasing potential and opportunities offered through portraiture. This alone is testimony to his belief in the transferable skills acquired as part of an education in illustration and reinforces his beliefs that the future of illustration is one that presents possibilities for practitioners to cross boundaries between many disciplines.

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