Randall was awarded The BP Travel Award 2012, for his proposal to walk in the footsteps of the Japanese
Andō Hiroshige, creating paintings of the people and places of contemporary Japan. His project involved spending time in Japan resulting in a group of 15 paintings exhibited at the
National Portrait Gallery in London as part of The 2013
BP Portrait Award exhibition, under the title "In the Footsteps of Hiroshige – The Tokaido Highway and Portraits of Modern Japan". The exhibition subsequently toured to The Aberdeen Art Gallery Scotland, The Wolverhampton Art Gallery England, and then formed his solo exhibition in Japan 'Portraits from Edo to the Present' at The Shizuoka City Tokaido Hiroshige Museum, where the paintings were exhibited alongside Hiroshige's original
The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō woodblock prints. In conjunction with these exhibitions, the book Carl Randall – Japan Portraits was published, illustrating paintings and drawings made in Japan, with a foreword by British author
Desmond Morris, and an introduction by the late American writer
Donald Richie. A short documentary, Carl Randall – Japan Portraits was also made, showing the artist painting and drawing in Japan. His Japan paintings were also the subject of a 2016 'World Update' interview by the BBC World Service (titled 'Painting the faces in Japan's crowded cities'), and he was also interviewed by CNN about his Japanese work.
Awards, scholarships, residencies, collections
As well as The BP Travel Award, he also received first prize in the 1998
RWS/Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, he twice received Second prize in The William Coldstream Painting Competition at The Slade School (1996 & 1997), and was awarded The 2011 Nomura Art Prize by Tokyo University of Arts (for the top PhD graduate exhibition, with his painting 'Roppongi Nightclub' being bought for the University Museum's collection). Scholarships include
Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation and
MEXT to continue his career as a painter in
Tokyo, where he lived for 10 years. He was selected to be the artist in residence at the 2007 Grand Prix Formula 1 Races in Japan, and was interviewed about his paintings for the CNN programme 'The Japanese Grand Prix: F1 in Japan'. He was also invited to be artist in residence in Hiroshima City, to meet and paint portraits of hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bomb), as part of the exhibition Hiroshima Art Document (the resulting series of portrait drawings now in permanent collection of UCL Art Museum, University College London ). In 2014, his large canvas 'Tokyo Portrait' was bought by
Fondation Carmignac in Paris, joining works in the collection by artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichenstein, Jean-Michel Basquait, Keith Haring, Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter. His paintings are also in
The Royal Collection and The Shizuoka City Tokaido Hiroshige Museum of Art, Japan. Fine art prints of his paintings are in the collections of
King's College, Cambridge;
National Poetry Library at
Zoological Society of London; Channel 4 News Studios; The National Film and Television School; Akram Khan Dance Company; Curtis Brown Group; Aardman Animation, Bristol; Kent University; Hanway Films; Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds; The Comedy Store;
Bar Italia Soho.
His works have been exhibited at a number of exhibitions and galleries, including the
BP Portrait Awards (2002, 2012, 2013) at The National Portrait Gallery London; the
Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (2003, 2009, 2013, 2019); The
Royal Society of Portrait Painters annual exhibition (2012, 2017, 2018, 2020 2022), The
Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize (2017, 2018), ING Discerning Eye 2020, the
Jerwood Drawing Prize 2012, and 'Small is Beautiful' at
Flowers Gallery Cork St. central London, for each consecutive year from 2017 to present. In 2014, he had two solo exhibitions in central London of work inspired by the people and places of Tokyo: 'Tokyo Portraits' at The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation (exhibition opened by novelist
David Mitchell), and 'Shōzō [肖像]' at Berloni London. In the same year, his solo exhibition 'Portraits from Edo to the Present' was at The Shizuoka City Tokaido Hiroshige Museum of Art in Japan, where his paintings were exhibited alongside Ando Hiroshige's original
The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō woodblock prints (he was also commissioned by the Museum to make a painting for their collection – a contemporary view of Mount Fuji, as depicted in one of Hiroshige's prints). Other exhibitions in Japan include at Tokyo Art Award, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Arts, and a solo exhibition at Fuma Contemporary Tokyo, Bunkyo Art. Participation in international art fairs include Art Volta, Basel Switzerland; Art Taipei, Taiwan; Art International Istanbul, Art Osaka and Art Fair Tokyo 2019, Japan. In 2015, he was commissioned by HRH Prince of Wales to paint a World War Two D-Day Veteran for The Royal Collection, exhibited at The Queens Gallery, Buckingham Palace, Portsmouth Museum, and Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, Scotland. In 2016, his work was exhibited and auctioned at
Christie's New York, and in 2020 Christie's London. Earlier in his career, he was included in the 2004 group exhibition 'Being Present' at The Jerwood Gallery London, showcasing eight young UK figurative painters who primarily work from life.
'London Portraits' are a series of 15 paintings made upon Randall's return to the UK, of people who have contributed to their fields in British culture and society. Each sitter was asked to choose a location in London for the background of their portraits. Participants include newscaster
Jon Snow, actress
Julie Walters, comedian
Jo Brand, animator
Nick Park, author/illustrator
Raymond Briggs, novelist
David Mitchell, actress
Katie Leung, illustrator
Dave McKean, poet
Benjamin Zephaniah, movie producer
Jeremy Thomas, film-maker
Julien Temple, poet
Simon Armitage, choreographer
Akram Khan, zoologist
Desmond Morris, actor
Antony Sher and Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company
Gregory Doran. A short documentary Carl Randall – London Portraits was made in conjunction with the project, showing Randall meeting and painting the sitters – each explaining their choice of location in London for their portraits. Prints of this series of paintings were displayed at the print room of The National Portrait Gallery, London. In 2017, he created a large monochrome painting depicting Piccadilly Circus London, a busy central London shopping area, which involved meeting and painting the portraits of over 75 London residents directly from life. In 2018, he painted over 55 portraits in a large oil painting depicting central London's Waterloo Bridge and Thames River area(exhibited at The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2019). In 2021, Carl was commissioned by
Bob Bob Ricard to create a series of four new portrait paintings of restaurateurs/people in the hospitality industry, for their new £25 million restaurant in the Leadenhall building, the City of London. The portraits depict chef & author
Pierre Koffmann; food critic for Bloomberg for 25 years Richard Vines; and restaurateurs/businessmen Leonid Shutov, and Roman & Mikhail Zelman. They are set against London locations such as the City of London, the Barbican centre, and
5 Hertford Street Club in Mayfair.
Randall has been invited to give talks at UCL Art Museum (University College London), The London Art Fair, CharterHouse School, Cambridge University, The British Council in Tokyo, The National Portrait Gallery London, The Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation (chaired by the Head of Undergraduate Painting at The Slade School), and at The Swedenborg Society in Bloomsbury - invited by The Japan Society London. In Tokyo, he was Adjunct Professor in Fine Art at Temple University Japan and painting and drawing tutor at Suidobata Art Academy. In London, he has been invited to give painting and drawing workshops at Heatherleys School of Fine Art, The Art Academy and The Royal Drawing School.
Roppongi Nightclub. Oil on canvas, 65 x 130cm. Winner of The 2011 Nomura Art Prize, Tokyo. Collection of Tokyo Geidai Museum, Japan.
Tokaido Highway Paintings. Oil on canvas, 42 x 30cm each. BP Travel Award work 2013. Exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery London.
Shinjuku. Oil on canvas, 100 x 230cm. Exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery London 2013.
Tokyo Subway. Oil on canvas, 130 x 162cm. Exhibited at The 2013 RA Summer Exhibition, The Royal Academy of Arts, London.
Tokyo Portrait. Acrylic on canvas, 182 x 227cm. Collection of Fondation Carmignac, Paris France.
Hibakusha Portraits (Survivors of the Atomic Bomb, Hiroshima). Pencil and ink on paper, 35 x 50cm each. Collection of University College London Museum.
Tokyo. Oil on canvas, 65 x 150cm.
London Portraits. Oil on canvas, 30 x 42cm each (15 panels), 2014-16.
^In the Footsteps of Hiroshige – The Tokaido Highway and Portraits of Modern Japan – The 2012 BP Portrait Award at The National Portrait Gallery . "Tomorrows World", Artists & Illustrators Magazine, London, August 2013 issue, pages 34–37