By Joe Cummings
A portrait of Theo Paphitis, star of Dragons’ Den, is to be auctioned for Comic Relief through a Manchester art gallery.
Generation Pop, on New York Street, Piccadilly, are holding a silent auction to raise money for the charity until March 31st.
The television star contacted artist Paul Oz via Twitter to commission a painting, which led to the decision to create a picture of Mr Paphitis sporting a large red nose. The painting has been signed by both the artist and Mr Paphitis.
After Mr Oz suggested creating a piece for Red Nose Day, Mr Paphitis suggested adding the red nose to the portrait.
Describing the unveiling of the portrait, Mr Oz said: “Theo looked delighted when saw it, he took a picture on his Iphone straight away and used it as his Twitter photo!”.
Ten prints of the Red Nose Day piece have also been printed, each having been hand-finished by the artist, are also available from the gallery.
An exhibition of Mr Oz’s work, titled Art Explosion, is displaying at the gallery until the end of this month. The collection of portraits, each measuring up to five feet in height, are of film stars, pop culture characters and musicians, including Jimi Hendrix, Heath Ledger as The Joker, Yoda, Jack Nicholson and Spiderman.
Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles has recently purchased a portrait of Bono by MR Oz, amd a portrait of Alex Ferguson was commissioned to give to the Manchester United manager as a birthday present.
Formula One promoters’ have arranged to fly Mr Oz out to Abu Dhabi, to paints portraits of all the drivers who will be starting the race there, and he will also be painting trackside at Silverstone, in July.
Described as “exploding from the board”, the large, vibrant portraits by Mr Oz, from Leamington Spa, are full of colour and energy, their scale and almost three dimensional presence forming an arresting sight.
Gallery Curator, Anthony Marks, described how traffic passing the gallery windows, would often slow to take in the images.
Mr Marks talked about the ethos behind the Generation Pop set-up, saying: “We’re not about landscapes, we’re not about bowls of fruit, we’re about blowing your socks off.”
A born and bred Mancunian, Mr Marks went on to say that although Generation Pop had had the option of opening in London, Manchester was the right choice for them.
He added: “It’s such an eclectic, vibrant city, and we really see ourselves as a very Manchester gallery”.
Mr Oz is an official artist of the Bruce Lee Company and the Muhammed Ali Foundation. He was commissioned to create a painting of Bruce Lee to commemorate what would have been the film stars 70th birthday.
Using Oil on board, Mr Oz carves his images into oil paint, up to three centimeters thick, with a knife. The oil paint can be so thick in places, that individual pieces can take up to two weeks to dry.
The gallery, which opened two years ago, is home to original artworks from Marvel Comics, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros and Aardman Animation.
A collection of pen and ink portraits by Mr Oz, never displayed before this current exhibition, also feature. They include pictures of Al Pacino, Norman Wisdom and Frankenstein’s monster.
Generation Pop represent Mr Oz in Manchester, the gallery is open 10am – 6pm.
The silent auction continues until March 31st, all proceeds will be donated directly to Comic Relief.
To donate directly to Comic Relief, visit: www.comicrelief.com