That’s Not My Age podcast: Portrait Artist of the Year Curtis Holder
Imagine my surprise when I switched over to Sky Art’s Portrait Artist of the Year (2020) and there was friend-of-a-friend, Curtis Holder. With only one male guest so far on the That’s Not My Age podcast roster, I instantly knew who had to be next. And it was no surprise to see Curtis sketching away on TV, consistently wowing the judges and charming his sitters – he’s a lovely, warm, incredibly talented man. And of course, he went on to win the competition (loud screech of approval from TNMA Mansions) with his stunningly original pencil drawings. Part of the prize included a commission from Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to create a portrait of the 47-year-old ballet dancer and director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Carlos Acosta. Having grown up on a housing estate in Leicester, to Curtis this felt like the opportunity of a lifetime.
After many years working in education as a primary school teacher, the 52-year-old has recently reduced his days in order to devote more time to becoming a professional artist. We talk about his creative journey, from early childhood scribbles to latest commissions, race, diversity and the challenges of breaking into the art world. Of course, I wanted to know all about Curtis’ experience on Portrait Artist of The Year, get a male perspective on changing career in your 50s and find out what it was like to meet Carlos Acosta and share a precious, self-affirming moment together.
Curtis lives in South London with his partner Steve and dog Freddie. When we recorded the podcast he was watching Landscape Artist of the Year and had just finished reading The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. It’s always a pleasure chatting to Curtis. I hope you enjoy the episode.
Check out Curtis Holder’s artwork HERE.
Listen to the podcast on Spotify HERE
Listen to Apple Podcasts HERE
Please, please rate, review and subscribe, to help more listeners to find the podcast.
We’re also on Stitcher, Podtail, Poddtoppen, and Google Podcasts.
The That’s Not My Age podcast is now recorded using a web-based application on my computer due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Producer and audio engineer: Linda Ara-Tebaldi
Host: Alyson Walsh
Guest: Curtis Holder
Music: David Schweitzer
Artwork: Ayumi Takahashi
Coordinator: Helen Johnson