Emma Hopkins RP Artist Spotlight

/ Royal Society of Portrait Painters


We spoke to Emma Hopkins, one of the younger members of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, about her work that was featured in the recent Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition 2023, and about her artistic practice more broadly. Whilst the exhibition has closed, you are still able to view the work online.

You studied Make-up and Prosthetics for Performance, how has this influenced your artistic practice and your knowledge of anatomy and the human form? 

During my studies I needed to understand the foundational structures that the translucent layers of skin would adorn as I was taught how to make life like body parts. I would cast bodies, sculpt bodies, attach prosthetics to bodies and then go home and paint them for myself. It is impossible to separate the influence that this training had on my work. I was trained to construct bodies from the bones up and that’s still how I see my subjects now.

Emma Hopkins in her studio.

You often incorporate darker or more graphic depictions in your work with immersive, honest yet sometimes fantastical elements - where does your desire to capture this come from?

I have always seen my art as a form of therapy - it is a tool that I use to explore the world around me and within me. There are often emotions or subjects that I feel a resolve to when I see them reflected back at me through my work. I am also playful in nature and I have a lot of fun when I see an element of the unusual seep through.