Sunday 26 October 2014

Tommy Bowe captured sitting in a wheelbarrow, donning a cape and grasping a watermelon in quirky portraits

Published 29/01/2014 | 07:30

Tommy Bowe's wears an army helmet in Stephen Johnston's portrait
Tommy Bowe sits in a wheelbarrow in a painting by Stephen Johnston
Tommy Bowe(L) poses with artist Stephen Johnston

Tommy Bowe is not looking forward to the training ground banter and ribbing when three portraits of the Ulster, Ireland and Lions star go on display in Belfast this evening.

Bowe, who is rapidly returning from injury at the moment, features in three portraits from rising artist Stephen Johnston in rather strange poses that will be luanched in the Merchant Hotel this evening.

“His concept of portraying me as a soldier going into battle is intriguing but I think I might take a bit of stick from my teammates for relaxing in a wheelbarrow, and especially for carrying a large melon instead of a rugby ball,” Bowe told the Irish times.

“I was frankly a bit apprehensive about having my portrait done. But I have to confess to be being not only relieved but actually quite pleased with the outcome."

Stephen Johnston, a 26-year-old artist from Lisburn, said that it was an honour to paint the sport star.

“It was a real honour to have Tommy sit for me. He is a powerful and imposing player, as well as a very engaging personality with a strong presence," he said.

"I’m fascinated by the athleticism and vulnerability of world-class sportsmen such as Tommy, and the huge demands on the top players of a magnificent but often brutal contact sport. I hope I’ve captured some aspects of this amazing international athlete.

“Hopefully too, the viewers and his many fans will be challenged and stimulated by the somewhat unconventional elements of these portraits.

“My work has been particularly inspired by the classic and modern surrealists, and from observation of everyday life and objects, such as films, nature, books and stories. I aim to engage the viewer with drama, intrigue and humour”

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