Award-winning wildlife and portrait artist
Wild Card winner for 2019 Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year
Raised over £65,000 for the Born Free Foundation in 2019
Raised over £50,000 for the Invictus Games in 2018
Ex-military helicopter commander
Winchester artist Hannah Shergold has a fascinating, albeit peculiar back story and is now one of the most successful self-representing artists in the UK. Since leaving the Armed Forces in April 2018 Hannah has hosted two solo exhibitions on London’s Pall Mall and within 15 months raised over £120,000 for charity through the sale of her artwork. She recently partnered with Prince William’s conservation charity Tusk with a fundraising target of £75,000. Despite the current Covid-19 crisis Hannah has committed to releasing her 2020 collection in the next three months with 20% of all proceeds being donated to Tusk. Furthermore, she will reserve two paintings for sealed bid auction with 100% of the proceeds being donated to the charity.
But despite her success, Hannah has taken a less conventional route to reach it. She graduated from Cambridge University in 2006 having studied pre-clinical Veterinary Medicine. After three years as a bronze sculptor she joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and commissioned into the Army Air Corps. Following a ground tour of Afghanistan with the infantry she qualified as a Lynx helicopter pilot and has served all over the world including Germany, Canada and Kenya.
In 2015 Hannah was deployed to Kenya to conduct medical evacuation duties. Often based in austere locations in the remote northern deserts, she flew multiple casualties with life-threatening conditions to medical facilities in Nairobi. Having experimented with painting whilst on standby Hannah’s work quickly drew a following, and since her return to the UK in 2016 Hannah has featured on Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year, in the Financial Times “How To Spend It”, Mayfair Times, Luxury London magazine, and was listed as one of the top 10 “Women to Watch in the Arts” by About Time magazine.
Since returning from Kenya in 2016 Hannah has developed her style and technique using oil paints and palette knives. Her unique use of horizontal and vertical strokes to break up her paintings brings a geometric element to a subject matter not normally associated with straight lines.
Hannah captures the energy and movement of her subjects with a bold use of impasto paint in vibrant, often unnatural colours. She works quickly to capture a likeness whilst the paint is still wet, moving the medium across the canvas to create the network of layers that are threaded through her work.
“My technique is a marriage of science and art and came about by happy accident”, Hannah says. “I am a scientist at heart and my quest for anatomical accuracy would often override any artistic looseness. In frustration I moved to destroy a painting with a builder’s knife, but the paint scraped off in such an interesting way that I had to explore the idea further. I try to ‘break’ the painting and force the viewer’s brain to work harder to find the image. It is a push and pull process - a balance between realism and abstraction.”