16 January 2015

Sussex Downs College Alumni Draws Prime Minister’s Portrait

Paul-Milton-B.ACollege Alumni Paul Milton receives correspondence and recognition from Downing Street after drawing Prime Minister David Cameron. The Portrait is now Archived and Recorded with The National Portrait Gallery in London.

What does a past Sussex Downs Student do when they finish College? Drawing a portrait of David Cameron may seem an unusual option, but that’s exactly what Sussex Downs College alumni Paul Milton, found himself doing last year.

Paul Milton, B.A Hons; B.D.A. Ambassador, aged 31 from Haywards Heath, has been making waves in the art world since leaving the Lewes campus in 2003 (AVCE Double Award) and the Eastbourne campus in 2004 (Foundation Studies in Art), and has also been working to promote awareness of Dyslexia and Epilepsy, conditions he suffers from but has not let hinder his accomplishments.

The portrait of the Prime Minister is hand drawn and came about from an idea Paul had. He originally requested a sitting but due to a busy schedule it wasn’t possible. Instead Paul created the portrait from a photograph sent to him from Downing Street to work from “with best wishes”.

Paul Comments: “The drawing took a long time to complete but the correspondence I’ve had has been lovely and the portrait is well liked.”

Paul went to the British Dyslexia Association (B.D.A) Awards Gala event in Mayfair, London at the end of last year where he was awarded the title of ‘Ambassador’. It was awarded for his hard work promoting the arts and awareness of dyslexia.

The portrait is now archived and Recorded with The National Portrait Gallery in London, along with Paul’s other portrait of Lindfield resident and World War II bomb aimer and co-pilot Harry Hacker. Copies of each portrait are in the Heinz archive and can be seen by appointment only.

Harry-H-and-Prime-Minsters-Portrait-displayed-at-LondonTalking about his time at College, Paul says: “I can’t thank Sussex Downs College enough. The opportunity the College gave me was so crucial to my progression in art and education. I would like to also thank James Dibiase, my tutor at the Lewes campus who really helped with my art. He gave me a chance and had faith in me and for that I can’t thank him enough.” Paul also has praised the College support staff who helped with his dyslexia.

“At one point I was considering giving up art,” he says.  “It’s not easy and it’s never straight forward. The letter I received from Downing Street gave me the courage to carry on; it felt like I mattered.”

The power of art can be easily seen from the latest headlines regarding how we perceive the world around us and how powerful art is as a form of expression.

The success of his work and his new role as Ambassador for the arts and promoting dyslexia awareness is proof that hard work and perseverance always wins.


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