Christopher Banahan

Portrait painter Christopher Banahan is an award winning artist, who creates contemporary portraits. He has built up a reputation for his distinctive style of portrait painting, often creating an "antique appearance" giving the paintings a sense of intrigue and mystery. One of his pieces 'After Vermeer' was based on a series where he re-interpreted well known Masterpieces. Christopher Banahan reveals that Though whilst re-working them, your own personality becomes embroiled in the interpretation revealling hints of a self portrait.

The painting 'Enfant’ represent the 'journey 'through the education system. 'Enfant' symbolises the ignorance and naivety before education , as seen in a young child's face and 'After Vermeer' symbolises the wisdom and knowledge gained upon completion of ones education [as seen in the portrait based on Vermeer 'portrait of a young lady'].

'Enfant' is a portrait of his son, Oscar, as an infant. "I wanted to capture him in a sulky mood, expressing a infants 'willfulness', rather than an orthodox 'smiling 'school portrait of a child. The painting was the first in a series entitled 'Letterbox Memoirs' which is captured 'contemplative' portraits of children, viewed through the unique composition' of a letterbox. Therefore the 24 foot long Dundalk 'Enfant' started from a 12 inch letterbox painting.

They're the largest paintings I've ever made and will make, as I have terrible back problems now. Scaling the work up for DkIT, was a complex matter, as my studio was very small. So I had to construct 'Enfant' in sections, like a jigsaw puzzle and had no idea how it would really look, till it was finally installed! It was a shock for my young son, to see himself as a 'giant baby', at the opening reception. Though for me the most fascinating aspect to the installation, was how the paintings bend on the curved walls at DkIT , giving them a 3D aspect. I used an 'ageing/crackling' varnish technique over the 'Enfant' portrait, to reflect 'the fragility and transience of life'. The antique distressed finish to much of my painting, comes from my interest in archaeology, when I was a Rome Scholar in painting, at the British School of Rome."
Christopher Banahan.