Oliver Winconek’s exhibition ‘Mugshot: Painting the least wanted’ is coming to Babylon Gallery in Ely

Painting of a woman in a police mugshot by artist Oliver Winconek

Painting of a woman in a police mugshot by artist Oliver Winconek - Credit: Archant

Oliver Winconek is bringing his exhibition ‘Mugshot: Painting the least wanted’ to the Babylon Gallery in Ely.

Inspired by American police mugshots from the 1940s, 50s and 60 that focus on petty criminals from all walks of life, he said: “I have chosen to paint people on the edge of society, those in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Some of the ‘crimes’ these people have committed are homosexuality, which is no longer illegal today.

Oliver added: “I am fascinated by changing attitudes and shifting tolerances together with mistakes in judgement that led to the subjects being arrested.”

Oliver found inspiration in the book Least Wanted by graphic designer Mark Michaelson. The book showcases a selection of photos and police records that were published at auction. Once he was granted permission to use the photos this became the groundwork for the exhibition.

He complimented the format of the mugshot because it’s a “quick, unplanned and unrehearsed moment in time.”

He added: “I love the intimacy of them and I have carried that feeling into the paintings, working wet into wet using oils with each piece coated in gloss resin to mimic the sheen on a photograph.”

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Oliver began a Kickstarter campaign to fund his exhibition which has now ended and reached a total of £4,000 exceeding his £3,000 goal.

The campaign allowed people to donate amounts from £5 to £495, starting from a regular donation to receiving a handmade mugshot portrait and more.

As part of the exhibition, he will showcase large scale charcoal drawings, pencil sketches, the 2014 documentary Mugshot, directed by Dennis Mohr and present an artists Q and A session.

The exhibition opens on January 18 and there is a launch event where visitors can meet the artist on January 20. The exhibition continues through to February 18 at 12pm.

Fascinated by people and the human form, Oliver has dedicated a large part of his practise to painting portrait commissions as well as working with interesting members of society, actors and musicians.

He was also selected to be featured on Sky Arts portrait artist of the year 2017 and has had his work exhibited in various locations including the prestigious Saatchi Gallery.