“Issy and I met in strange circumstances about four years ago. We were both going through difficult things in our personal lives, and it formed an immediate life connection between us.
I often go to Issy’s studio – she is relentless with her work ethic and is constantly engaged in her writing or painting. She is rightly regarded by many as one of the greatest painters of our generation.
This is portrait of her in her studio in East London, standing in front of a painting she did of some choir boys. I printed her on this cotton, because there’s was something pastel about the colour and light, even in the digital image. I wanted to do something that was soft, which I feel reflects a side of Issy that perhaps, people don’t immediately see, but is very true of her. Soft as butter. It is probably the most intimate portrait of the series, in the sense that we know more about one another than any of the other sitters.” - Henry Hudson
“An amazing photographer and person – always so warm, kind, and welcoming. I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting her on a few occasions – I was at the V&A summer party when I asked her if she would sit for me.
I went to her studio in north west London, in a beautiful Mews house. It didn’t take very long. She just sat up on her chair, it was easy, relaxed and comfortable- she wasn’t wearing any shoes. I think this feeling and energy is captured in the portrait.
At the time I was thinking of the energy and the simplicity of the Hockney drawings of the 70’s. I’ve also used some photography in this portrait, around her hand, which felt important, given it is her medium of choice.
I wanted to capture the way the light played across the wooden floor of her studio, and so I printed her on these beautiful oak floor panels.” - Henry Hudson
“I met Sean to photograph him over breakfast at the Connaught hotel in London, where one of his own artworks is displayed, and fittingly became part of the background of this portrait.
Sean’s face is incredible, and I wanted to capture his intensity, as well as the light to dark aspect, uniquely created by London windows, and the dark space of the slate medium.
The largest piece in the exhibition, printed on Irish black slate. The joy of using this natural medium, is that it has its own wonderful signature and lines, which draw the eye across the surface in a particular way.” - Henry Hudson
“Adam Lindemann runs ‘Venus Over Manhattan’.
I captured him in his office space in New York, there's a Peter Saul painting in the background, and a Calder just hanging over his head, and you’ll note his desk in the background. It was quite beautiful to look at in the space and it had this exquisite marking on it. It led us to discuss the intrigue these marks can create, and the history a piece can carry through its unique markings.” - Henry Hudson
“This was an amazing opportunity and happens to be the first portrait I did in this series. Ed and his team, and his two dogs welcomed me to his studio – Ed was very gracious, laid back and sweet.
We discussed amongst other things a desk in his office, which seemed somewhat out of place with his aesthetic. He spoke of the personal meaning and history behind it, purchased from Europe, from an auctioneer friend of his. He happened to shut his eyes for a few seconds as I photographed him, and one of the images I took captured him this way.
After I left, I started to think about Ed, the age he was, and his reputation in LA, and the Art World, as a deified figure that he is, it seemed fitting to paint him that way – eyes shut. There’s something dreamlike about it, like LA can be. There’s also something meditative and statuesque about it.
I printed him on clear blue acrylic – there’s something so LA about Plastic acrylic.” - Henry Hudson
“My friend, and the most famous portrait painter in London, perhaps the world. He’s painted everyone, from celebrities, to writers and royalty around the world.
It felt fitting to photograph him for this portrait, in the same spot in his studio in London, where he has painted so many famous faces. So often when the artist becomes the sitter, you see another side- with Jonny, the inner child, and an innocence came through.
I printed Johnny’s portrait onto a worktop that was in my studio and has served as my worktop for three years. It has all of my history, cuts, and paints on it. When I saw it, it rang true for me as the perfect medium to print him on. It reflects the same aesthetic in his studio, which is filled with wood, dark space, and all of it flecked and splashed with paint.” - Henry Hudson
“I’ve known of his work for a long time. I met him at his studio in LA. I arrived 20 minutes early, high on caffeine and jet lag. The benefit of this was that it gave me time to walk around his studio before he was ready to sit for me. His studio is, like Alex, slick, professional, and everything is considered ‘to a T’.
He changed into a particular outfit - on his jumper you will see his signature avocado… his American white socks, his signature glasses. As he changed, he stepped into the heightened character – that is Alex Israel. I later painted his portrait, sat at the pool at the Chateau Marmont. It felt to me a very LA moment.
I printed him on Acrylic, which to me has always felt an appropriate material to the way LA feels. The way the light is in LA… the way LA is.” - Henry Hudson
“I met Ron in his studio just in North London. Ron was very welcoming and accommodating. He walked me around his studio, which is amazing sort of old building in Camden sort of tucked away in a warehouse. It went on and on and on, room after room, and the further you went, the more you got lost in his world. Wonderful, strange materials in play, which from solid to soft, to solid again. it was kind of bizarre and fantastic. Like something out of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’.
Ron sat in the front of the studio, where you have a lot of displays of his furniture and chairs. I opened the door of the room, so the light is very intense on him, and left most of the rest of the room in darkness.
Ron has such a big kind of personality and character. There are some people's faces which just allow me to really have fun with and I felt that with Ron being someone who is so open to play, and fun, who pushes the boundaries of everything, really gave me license to really get in on his face.
Ron is sitting in one of his chairs, which you can sort of make out in the background, I particularly liked the idea of Ron being held in position by one of his own designs... And of course, he's wearing his famous hat.” - Henry Hudson
“The famous gallerist. She invited me to meet her in her office in New York. I had never met her before but knew her as a complete powerhouse of the artworld.
She had the most beautiful collection of artworks in her office. I was completely enamoured by her. She was relaxed and forthcoming. We took quite a few photos. She is extremely elegant, but my line is very scratchy and harsh, and Dominque just isn’t – she exudes this radiant, elegant energy.
I wanted to do something much finer, I used a pencil and watercolour tools on the iPad.” - Henry Hudson
“Christian’s company, ‘Avant Arte’ has become Incredibly successful in the digital age. He built up a huge following on Instagram, amassing over 2 million followers, initially by posting artworks he liked. He then used this platform to begin making and selling limited edition prints, with artists all over the world.
We met for lunch at what was then Hicks, in Brown’s hotel.
He was rushing to meet Hans Ulrich at the time. Being one of the new kids on the block, everyone wanted to meet him. We were catching up, when he ordered this steak tartare, with a plate of green beans which came with a tiny little crouton. He was wearing a green jacket, and in this very ‘chichi’ hotel, it seemed to me the perfect little scene. Reminiscent of the paintings of the past… of absinthe drinkers in Paris.
There’s this great sense of play and irony – I really went in on his face. There’s a lot of mark making and lines. I printed his portrait onto one of his boxes that he used to send his prints to customers. I dismantled it like Kirk Schwitters and printed on top of it.” - Henry Hudson
“Mark is an old friend of mine and a collector of my works. He has been supporting me in my art for nearly two decades now, and we've become very good friends over the years.
This is a portrait I made of him when we were on holiday together. It’s this very casual setting on holiday. In the top right-hand corner, you will see one of his Iris paintings.
Mark is famous for doing his self-portrait in blood, So I wanted to take that idea of blood. I had him sat in front of a white wall. I had this image in my mind of looking under a microscope at human blood. The way white space would appear around the cells at a microscopic level. There is a beauty and a prettiness, but it’s also a little bit more sinister than that.
Mark is a great artist. I’ve never met anyone who is able to work across such a wide range of different mediums. It's an amazing thing for younger artists to watch and be around. It’s very inspiring to see how he thinks and creates artwork.
With his face, I wanted to capture someone that was very serious, but my way of showing intimacy was again to really go in on his face. I wanted to capture his intensity. The intensity that deeply intelligent man has, but to also capture some of the intimacy of our relationship as friends.” - Henry Hudson
“Tim is a dear old friend of mine. I have known him for many years, since I first came to London and we drank in the Groucho club, as I tried to muscle my way into the scene.
When Tim posed for me, we were at the wake of my ex-girlfriend’s Grandmother, who was the wife of the famous sculptor Lynn Chadwick.
Classic Tim, being as playful and imaginative as his artwork – picked up this lightbulb and cord, which he wrapped around himself and held up. I knew immediately it was the image I wanted to use. He looked wizard-like, or like someone who had captured the moon. Whose wild eyes seemed to say, “come in if you dare”.
I printed him on trash, which seemed only fitting, given his renown for making art from trash. I collected everything from toilet roll to chocolate wrappers. Anything I could get my hands on.” - Henry Hudson
“Tommy is a dear friend and collector of mine, and undoubtedly, an icon of 20th century America. I went to meet him in his HQ in New York. It was bustling, right off Grand Central Station. We had a colourful conversation about the artworld and its many characters.
He’s sat on a denim sofa in his office, behind him, a painting by his daughter Ally.
There’s something very strong about his posture. He gives off a very gentile and comfortable energy, and the quiet strength of someone who knows who they are.
I printed him onto white denim which I had stitched together, and had picked up later that day, in a fabric store in New York.” - Henry Hudson
“David needs no introduction. He has taken my own portrait on a few occasions. When David paints you, he really wants to figure out who you are. A game of cat and mouse. He will push every button, run up and down you, and get in every nook and cranny before he sits you down. So, it was a unique experience to be able to switch roles and take his portrait.
His early works include a self-portrait done during his time in the army, during the Korean war. He is captured on his bed, very good looking and muscled, and up on his wall a Picasso painting – it had always struck me as an iconic self portrait of a man fighting for his country. On his wall in his studio today, he still has Picasso works.
I wanted to reflect and emulate this link between him and Picasso, also exploring black and white. In my portrayal you have David coming out of the darkness, and a ghostly Picasso behind.
This has yet to be realised in print, but I think I would choose some metallic, strong like David.” - Henry Hudson
“Kenny is known throughout the art world. I’d never had the pleasure of meeting him, but I had seen him across rooms many times, and knew him from Instagram, where he is very vocal.
I reached out to him on there one day when in New York, and within 10 minutes I was in a cab on the way to his New York Home. “Yes, come over, come now”
He was very energetic, and excited to show me his house and his artworks. Kenny has so many stories, you just need to buckle up and let him take you on a journey. Kenny is known for his energy, and is always seen phone in hand, in his Adidas three stripe. He’s a great character and sitter.
I wanted to capture a side of Kenny that perhaps people don’t often see… He is always painted smiling. I wanted to capture a different side of Kenny, more melancholic and sad.
I printed Kenny on Scagliola. A technique where you mix and dough plaster, which marbles, and is then buffered with a wax.” - Henry Hudson
“The great American artist. I DM’d him when I was In New York. I had never met him, but greatly admired his work and use of different materials – something I have always affiliated and associated with. I messaged him to explain what I was doing with this series, and he very sweetly agreed to sit, and invited me to his studio.
He was setting up his show at Hauser & Wirth at the time. His studio was very full. He is incredibly articulate and as a large man, has an impressive stature. He has a stress ball which he was squeezing the entire time. During my time there, and getting to know one another, we touched on certain things we had been experiencing privately. There was a connection there. He was sat in the middle of his studio, on his chair, wrappings on the floor, his tile works in the background. He was scratching his head and squeezing his stress ball – I know all too well what it is like in the build-up to an exhibition. I think the image says a lot if you know the backstory.
During my time with him, we had talked about alcohol amongst other things. I had initially wanted to print him on to broken alcohol glass bottles, but the variances between the glass pieces didn’t work with the printing. I began hacking away at the glass and plaster I had fixed to this aluminium backing board, and what it revealed was this sort of tiling effect on the board that was so reminiscent of his work – it was perfect.” - Henry Hudson
“Polly, world famous photographer and close family friend. She’s photographed everyone from the Queen, to Nick Cave.
I went to her beautiful studio in LA where she walked me through her new works: Self-portrait nudes that were intimate, beautiful and scary. Everything that Polly does brilliantly, making it pleasing to the eye, but always with a twist.
Polly is a big character, energetic and bubbly – but when sat still, unanimated, you get a different side to her, through her eyes. There is a seriousness and a sadness to her I wanted to capture.
I printed her on broken tiles to reflect this, but also as a nod to the longstanding association between LA and tiles. I wanted a clean and pure white tile, that would blend her own colour aesthetic from her nude works, into this portrait.” - Henry Hudson
“Ai had his exhibition at the Lisson Gallery when I met him.
He was friendly and malleable. “Where do you want me?” he asked. I replied, “why don’t you just stand there?” We were in the gallery and it was very well lit. I like those I paint to feel as comfortable as possible. I didn’t want to get a chair I prefer it to be instant, and not staged- especially when there is camera involved.
Ai Weiwei is without a doubt, one of the greatest living artists. He’s monumental. I wanted to use this headshot of him staring straight down the lens – right at you. The colours are reminiscent of his sunflower installation at the Tate, and of Van Gogh.
I followed the floral theme by printing him on dried delphinium flowers, made by my uncle in Worcestershire. I particularly like that some of the petals are falling off. It invokes the questions of life and death and reminds us of our impermanence and our fragility.” - Henry Hudson
“An installation based and multi-disciplinary artist, based in New York. She has a wide practise, working with a wide range of mediums, and combines both the virtual and the real.
I met Rachel in her studio in New York. She has these amazing paintings, which merge holograms with paint. Her studio had incredible light – projections bouncing around the room. I think it’s an incredibly difficult thing to do, to combine these mediums, but Rachel does it beautifully.
Her studio is a mixture of the smells of paint and canvas, and the sound of whirring machines and technology. When I took her photo there was beautiful digital light, and projected images playing across her face. I wanted to capture her as the powerful and engaging woman that she is and mix that with this very feminine composition with her arms. It is possibly the most intimate portrait of the series.
I printed her portrait on old computer chip hardware. They have this wonderful coding on the surface of the chips. I love the texture and geometric shapes.” - Henry Hudson
“Chairman of the Royal Academy, photographed at Houghton hall in Norfolk, where they were holding a Damien Hirst exhibition at the time.
He said “absolutely - let’s do it straight away” and grabbed a pot of flowers from one of the beautiful dining table displays in the music hall.
Damien had put his colourful dot paintings throughout the halls, and I wanted to capture both these pop colours, and the colours of the plants in his hands. The light there was perfect in the music hall, and Norman has the most incredible face and character. I was able to sort of ‘get in on his face’ – an expression I use a lot, but I really do mean it. It kind of allowed me the freedom to really get in his face.” - Henry Hudson