Shazia returns with a stunning new collection of children's portraits, A Letter To My Younger Self

We are excited to share the news that Yorkshire-based artist Shazia returns to Castle Fine Art with her 2023 collection A Letter To My Younger Self.  A collection of innocent portraits that capture the uniqueness of people Shazia has known throughout her life, each image encapsulates qualities that make them distinct but suggests that a deeper story lies beneath the surface of the canvas.

We're offering an exclusive discount when you purchase 2 or more limited edition pieces. The discount will be automatically applied at the checkout so all you have to do is choose your favourite pieces!

- Buy 2 and receive a 10% discount
- Buy 3 or 4 and receive a 15% discount
- Buy 5 to 11 and receive a 17.5% discount
- Or treat yourself to the whole set of 12 for a 20% discount

We are proud to be donating a percentage of each sale of limited edition artworks to our chosen charity, Birmingham Children's Hospital, to help fund the work they do to help over 90,000 sick children each year.

You can find out more about Shazia’s story as an artist and her influences here.

Featured art (L-R): 'Margo' and 'Marcel' by Shazia; limited edition canvas on board, £450 each. Purchase both artworks and receive a 10% discount.

Painting by instinct

Shazia’s first painting was a piece for her infant son’s nursery entitled ‘Anna and Guto’. She wanted a child to be able to appreciate the image so created an uncomplicated and simple design which set the tone for her portrait pieces to date. A Letter To My Younger Self continues this theme with vibrant limited-edition portraits of children, whose colours pop from Shazia’s trademark dark backgrounds, influenced by Renaissance art.

Shazia’s portraits of children are indicative of how she paints by instinct and isn’t afraid to deviate from her original ideas. “Sometimes I know which direction I'm going and then all of a sudden, I just swerve out of nowhere and then it goes off to something else,” she explains. “I cannot for sure explain the elements I paint but during the process of painting I allow things to naturally emerge and before I am aware of this the paint is already set and dry and I am left wondering why and how those elements made it onto the canvas. It is only then I am able to decipher and accept their meaning.

“‘Erik’ took me the longest to paint, I was trying to get something right in my head. I was thinking about when kids don't want to be sat in a lesson, and they put their hand in their hair and when they come away their hair’s all messy. It reminded me of a real boy that I was at school with, I was trying to capture that memory of him.

“Images just come naturally to me, I just think back about the people I knew, but they are also people I know now. It's little things that I pick up on. Once I'm in the studio, I have to close the doors A weird little foible I know but I’ve done this since I was a child. I think it might be something to do with having imaginary friends as a child so our clandestine meets happened behind closed doors. My friends have long gone but the closing of doors has become a ritual. I just paint until my alarm goes off to do the school run. Then we have some family time and after that I'm back in the studio.”

The art of painting children

Shazia has a gift for creating children with immense character, and part of that gift is storytelling and creating real personality in her work. “I did start painting them to tell their story, but the piece becomes the story of the person who buys the artwork,” she says. “Funnily enough, the first painting I ever sold was to a man in his fifties who said it reminded him of himself when he was a child”.

“I had an amazing childhood and so I draw inspiration from that. Mine was a world where a retired Diana Dors lived up the street where the powder blue Austin was parked outside. Eleanor Rigby lived in the house with the moss green door, never came out of her home except Sunday mornings. Bruce Foxton hurried down the street in his suit, clacking his heels across the cobbles every weekend. I thought Miss Marple lived with her sister at No 5 and I thought the world ended at the top of the hill where the school stood casting its long shadow over my imagined little world. I remembered my first day at school. I had turned 5 and started school on a cold January morning. My first day I was led by the hand by a girl with thick, fiery-red hair and the night sky all over her face. I think I pinched her to make sure she was real. She was there for a couple of weeks before she stopped turning up to school. You will see her in many of my paintings.”

Each painting has a name, but Shazia says these can be fluid. “I could be painting a Derek, but in the process of painting, he could become a Damien. I think if I started off with sketches of the children, that would restrict me. So I just let things flow freely because that helps me it get me to the point I need to get to”.

Featured Artist

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