February 1, 2016 / 4:13 PM / 3 years ago

With Cara Delevingne as muse, artist Yeo presents new portraits

LONDON (Reuters) - Known for his famous subjects, from politicians and royalty to Hollywood celebrities, portrait artist Jonathan Yeo explores different ways of looking at the same person in his latest work — a series of paintings of model and actress Cara Delevingne.

British artist Jonathan Yeo speaks during an interview with Reuters at his studios in west London, Britain February 1, 2016. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

The self-taught artist will present the portraits, which in age of constant selfies on social media also look at where the genre is headed, as part of a retrospective of his work in an exhibition opening in Denmark next month.

“A lot of my work in the past has been about one painting of someone and trying to get everything about them into one image,” Yeo told Reuters in an interview. “It had been in the back of my mind that it would be interesting to do the reverse and so rather than do a series of single images of people, to do the same subject over and over again.”

In one of the paintings seen by Reuters, Delevingne, who has carved out a successful career as the face of some of fashion’s biggest names, is holding a mirror to her face.

In another, the 23-year old, whose own Instagram pictures have garnered a large following, is wearing goggles.

“(It’s) alluding really to the fact that she’s a performer and playing with her own identity,” Yeo said of the first work.

“It’s a very interesting point in time and ... one way of highlighting that was to use someone who’s an actor, i.e. a professional chameleon, who’s used to changing their own identity one day to another, one job to another.”

Yeo taught himself to paint while recovering from Hodgkins Lymphoma, which he developed while at university.

In his 25-year career, he has painted many famous faces including actors Kevin Spacey, Nicole Kidman and Sienna Miller, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, artist Damien Hirst, former British prime minister Tony Blair and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai.

Some of those works will also go on display at the Museum of National History at Denmark’s Frederiksborg Castle, Yeo’s biggest exhibition, leading up to his latest series of works.

“Jonathan Yeo Portraits” will run from March 20 to June 30.

Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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