Focusing almost exclusively on nude portraits and studies of human flesh, Emma Hopkins turned to portrait-painting after graduating with a degree in Make-up and Prosthetics for Performance from the University of the Arts London, where she trained in the design and making of prosthetic body parts for theatre, film and television.
Born in Brighton in 1989, Hopkins is fascinated by the themes of anatomy, psychology and mortality, listing Egon Schiele, Frida Kahlo and Paul McCarthy as influences. She endeavours to ‘paint people from the inside out’ in a bid to uncover the relationships we have with our body, mind and emotions.
‘I want to understand as much as I can about what it means to be human,’ she says. ‘We are not just the clothed person we present to the world. We are the mind and body that we inhabit. There are aspects that connect us all and we are also unique individuals. I moved into painting portraits because it is a celebration of this.’
Employing a variety of materials to create multiple interpretations of her sitters, the work progresses from intuitive studies that teeter on the edges of abstraction and surrealism to emotionally charged oil paintings that are sculptural in style and clinical in detail.