Ashtead artist tells Olympians' stories
Patrick Simkins, from Ashtead, was selected to be a BT Storyteller and produced portraits of the Brownlee brothers, Oscar Pistorius and Beth Rodford
A budding artist has told the story of four Olympians from his own perspective having been inspired by their achievements in this month's Games.
Patrick Simkins, from Ashtead, was one of 100 people selected to become a BT Storyteller to chronicle the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The 26-year-old has been working as a professional artist since graduating with a fine art and illustrations degree from Coventry University four years ago - and pitched a unique idea to the project’s creators, which saw him meeting Team GB triathlon medallists Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, 400m runner Oscar Pistorius and rower Beth Rodford.
Mr Simkins said: "I wanted to meet the Olympians and paint figurative pieces as I thought it would be a great way to give my perceptions of the athletes and the games.
"I asked them questions and thought about how I might convey them. All of the athletes were very down-to-earth and focused.
"It was interesting talking to them as I have something very personal with painting and it was the same notion of the athletes being keen to do well despite the success it might or might not bring them."
Mr Simkins said meeting Pistorius - a sprinter nicknamed the Blade Runner because he runs wearing artificial legs - and discussing the controversy he attracts was interesting in considering how he would depict the South African athlete.
He said: "Pistorius said ‘my job is to keep on running’.
"There was a lot of hype about whether he should be allowed to run in the able-bodied Olympics, but his response was ‘I am just an athlete and all I want to do is prove myself’.
"He didn’t see it as a way of creating controversy. The Olympics was just another step for him.
"In my painting of him I showed him focusing on his race, with some light in the piece coming from a camera which puts him in the spotlight."
Mr Simkin's Olympic portraits will be displayed as part of the 20:12 Exhibition at Degree Art’s Execution Room, 12a Vyner Street, London, E2 9DG until September 26.