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12th January 2007 at 00:00

Ben Jamie

Job: Artist. Born: 1978

Attended: South Nottingham College,1998-99

Studied: Btec Foundation course in general art and design

Ben Jamie's work was featured at the National Portrait Gallery for the BP

Portrait Award 2006 and his paintings are now on national tour. At college, he studied many disciplines of art, including photography and fashion, before deciding to specialise in painting.

The college was near a river and fields, so there were plenty of places to go and find inspiration.

The way we were taught was also an inspiration. In one life drawing class we were given only a red pencil and a blue pencil with which to draw the model. We had to draw everything far away in blue and everything nearer in red. It was a good way of learning the principles of hot and cold colours and how they create distance in a picture. I think of this every time I paint.

Tim Rundle, the head of the course, was fantastic. A lot of things he taught have been very valuable. I always think of his advice whenever I am working in a sketchbook. But what I remember most was Tim's passion for art. On Monday nights, in his spare time, he put on film screenings in the lecture theatre, which was a great opportunity to see films I would not otherwise have come across.

The facilities were excellent and there were plenty of opportunities for using the photography darkrooms or printmaking rooms.

The course was designed to lead on to higher education, so there were no real career development lessons, but it definitely changed me. I would not be painting now if I had not studied there.

My best time since was going to the BP Portrait Award and seeing my painting on the banners outside the National Portrait Gallery. I'd never thought I'd have a piece in there, let alone on all the posters advertising the show.

Ben Jamie was talking to Shekhar Bhatia

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