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Drawing from experience; ART.

ANewcastle artist, whose drawings from life of Japanese survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bomb marked the first of his three exhibitions in London this year, has bagged a prize that will see him take up wall space again in the capital in 2013.

Carl Randall, 37, who is completing a doctorate at Tokyo University of Fine Arts, has been enjoying quite a year since he exhibited a set of six pencil and ink drawings he made after visiting survivors of the 1945 nuclear attack by the US which devastated their city.

"I made the drawings directly from life, visiting them at their homes in Hiroshima," he says. He also heard their poignant stories, such as that of Masataka Kakuta, who was nine when he saw the bomber above his parents' home. Although over two-and-a-half miles from the epicentre, the blast threw him to the ground and he was exposed to radiation as he looked for belongings in the debris.

The resulting portraits of seated male and female Hibakusha - the Japanese name for the atomic bomb survivors - went on show in May at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Exhibition at London's Mall Galleries.

Now a collection of line drawings he made on Tokyo trains, entitled The Tokyo Underground, is to go on display as part of The Jerwood Drawing Prize exhibition at Jerwood Space from September 12 to October 28 (the winner will be announced on September 11), while another of his artworks - an oil painting this time - is currently at the National Portrait Gallery, as part of the BP Portrait Awards.

The painting, Mr Kitazawa's Noodle Bar, Tokyo, is one of 55 works selected from this year's 2,200 entries being exhibited there until September 23. And Carl has been awarded the prestigious BP Travel Award, which will see him create work for a show at the same gallery next year.

After a visit home to see parents, Carl is now back in Japan on the next leg of a journey which has seen him capture the heart and soul of the country in his work. His focus on people and places make up what he calls "a personal document of contemporary Japan, as seen through the eyes of a visiting British artist".

It's a long way from the foundation course he did at Newcastle College of art and design before his BA in London where he concentrated on painting then studied at London Drawing School before heading off to Japan to take a masters then a doctorate in Tokyo.

As well as giving lectures and winning scholarships and awards - including first prize from 1,200 entries in a UK watercolour competition - his exhibitions have included a group show of Japanese and international artists which marked the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima.

And in 2007 he represented Japan as an artist in residence at Formula 1 races across the world.

For his new BP Travel Award, Carl will be following in the footsteps of artist Ando Hiroshige who in the 1800s depicted the Tokaido Road - also known as the Great Coastal Route - which connects Tokyo and Kyoto and was for centuries the most important road in Japan.

Whereas Hiroshige produced woodblock prints of it, Carl's idea for a contemporary take is to pick out various scenes along the road in small paintings.

"I will be creating modern equivalents of Ando Hiroshige's prints, depicting the people and places of Japan as exists today," he explains.

In early 2014, he's planning a solo exhibition of paintings and drawings at Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation at Japan House, London, through which he was awarded a 2003 scholarship to spend 20 months working in Tokyo, to gain a lasting knowledge of Japanese life and culture.

The personal document will show how fully he's captured the experience.

For more information on Carl and his work visit


A corner of London has been turning Japanese, thanks to a Newcastle artist. Barbara Hodgson reports on award-winning Carl Randall's fascinating insight into another culture Carl at work on one of his oil paintings, Roppongi Nightclub Carl Randall's portraits of Hibakusha, including Masataka Kakuta, second row, left
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Aug 28, 2012
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