Kimberly Frost photo
1. Jennifer Holloway Bopst gravitated toward portraiture right out of art school at VCU and has been doing it exclusively ever since. She found that people connected to it more easily than her abstract work. "I like to keep the expression sort of flat and not totally posed so people can read what they want into it," she says. You might recognize her work from the now-shuttered Dogwood Grille, where two of her large portraits hung prominently. Bopst will show portraits at Eric Schindler Gallery in October. 241-2204, jholloway.com. $890 for 16" x 20" to $1,890 for 24" x 48" for one subject.
2. Marshall Hawthorne is just 18, but already curators are hanging this VCU art student's work in area shops. He mostly paints his friends and family but will paint your likeness, too, after meeting you and doing a quick sketch. "I try to capture what I see of them in their everyday life," he says. He cites Lucien Freud and Egon Schiele as inspirations and hopes to become an elementary-school art teacher so he can spend his evenings and summers concentrating on his art. 357-6610, firstname.lastname@example.org, $500 for 36" x 30" for head and shoulders.
Tim Harriss dropped out of art school to play music, sometimes with art-rockers GWAR. Later he painted sets for commercials and movies until eventually developing his own work. His style is a sort of mashup between medieval Old-Masters portraiture and fisheye caricatures: Think Hans Holbein the Younger after a couple glasses of absinthe. Indeed, Harriss is influenced by the German Renaissance painter's use of light. As a result, he's developed a process where he meticulously lights his subject, shoots the photo, distorts the image in Photoshop, then paints the manipulated image using an underpainting and glazing technique for richness. "I'm not a traditionalist; I'm not trying to paint like the Old Masters," he says. "I'm a modern guy; I'm going to use whatever's at hand." 690-1153, timharriss.com. Commissioned portraits starting at $3,000 for 16" x 20" with custom-built frame.
Andras Bality is well known for his dreamlike paintings that have hung everywhere from Comfort to the Page Bond Gallery, but his ability to make a custom painting is less known. Rather than portraits, he considers them paintings with you in them. "My goal is for someone who doesn't know who the painting is of to want to hang it in their home," he says. 353-0710, andrasbality.com. Prices the same as for his regular paintings: $950 for 10" x 12", $2,400 for 24" x 30", $5,400 for 48" x 60".
Jamie Pocklington is always painting portraits — although sometimes he doesn't know the subjects. He gives his "quasi-realism" treatment to snapshots he finds on the Internet, but also paints portraits on commission. He is most often hired to paint children, which suits his playful, imaginative style well. Unlike some artists, Pocklington happily takes requests from subjects (or their parents) for color schemes and other elements in the work. As his Web site reads: "Need it to match a sofa? Tell me what colors to use. Want an airplane flying in the sky? Why not? Dragons? Sure." He says, "I think my basic style comes through no matter what. It actually makes it easier; it gives me a good starting point." 447-0758, jpock.com. Prices start at $600 for 11" x 14" of one child's face with multicolor background, up to approximately $2,200 for 36" x 48" of two children with a more complicated background.