Hats Off to Peaky Blinders Fan Art

The fifth series of Peaky Blinders has returned to our screens after a break of almost two years, but fans have been keeping themselves very busy in the meantime.

A recent campaign by the BBC has unearthed a whole generation of new fan artists, as the television company looked for new artwork to promote the new series. They ran a competition to find the best 16 images, all created by relatively unknown artists who had enjoyed the first four series of the show. After receiving over 1000 pieces, the winners were chosen, with each successful submission earning a prize of £1000. There was some controversy over the competition, with some complaining that those who didn’t win should still have received some compensation for their work.

The winning submissions came from all over the UK, with artwork from Kent, Northumberland, Devon and Hampshire, to name a few. The chosen pieces included:

The Man I Am by James Mundy

The Man I Am by James Mundy: From the waist up, this image portrays a man that is strong, capable and proud, but the viewer is given an insight into his troubled character with the unfinished portrait. Created with digital painting techniques, the image is intended to be dark and moody.

On a Razor’s Edge by Matt Clough

On a Razor’s Edge by Matt Clough: The artist wanted to create a sombre image representative of the violence of Thomas Shelby’s past and the impact this would likely have on his future.

Peony Rose by Alice Matthew

Peony Rose by Alice Matthew: This digital painting was made to show the many sides of Polly Gray, a woman who is both strong and in control, but also has a softer side that makes it easy for Tommy to confide in her.

Troubled by Holly Reynolds

Troubled by Holly Reynolds: The artist used both paint and coloured pencils to create the turmoiled image of Thomas Shelby, relying heavily on a deep red background to represent the strong themes present throughout the television show.

Jackdaw by Tahlia Preece

Jackdaw by Tahlia Preece: This sharp pencil drawing shows a different side to our lead character, representing the deep love that Shelby has for horses while using curves and blue ink to portray a regal atmosphere.

Violent Men are the Easiest to Deal With by Adam Martin

Violent Men are Easiest to Deal With by Adam Martin: This sullen, monochrome portrayal of Thomas Shelby has been created with ink and digital retouching, broken up with a dark red line, representative of the blood shed on his rise to power. The artist insists that there is nothing ‘black and white’ about the character and has been careful to ensure the symbolic flat cap remains in the image.

Sundown by Peter Carroll

Sundown by Peter Carroll: This dark impression of Shelby was created by sketching the image by hand before digitally colouring with a limited palette. It is intended to evoke feelings of both power and turmoil, perfectly emphasizing the lead character’s personality.

These artworks, and the remaining eight pieces, can now all be seen across the BBC’s marketing campaign for the show. They have the potential to boost the profiles of some very talented artists and have brought Fan Art back to the forefront of critic consciousness.


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