Art

Bath Big Issue vendor models for incredible pencil portrait

Artist Adrian Thompson-Boyce spent 100 hours creating a life-size drawing of Ian Duff and pet dog Boycie

Big Issue vendor Ian Duff has been turning heads in Bath after a life-size pencil portrait of him and faithful hound Boycie went on display in the window of an art gallery.

Artist Adrian Thompson-Boyce spent a mammoth 100 hours sketching Bath seller Ian and Boycie over three months. The life-like six-foot-five tall, three-foot wide sketch was posted at the city’s Art Salon on August 6 with a £3,000 price tag and will remain in the window until the 26th.

Ian Duff Boycie Adrian Thompson-Boyce
Ian-Duff-and-Boycie-drawing
Ian and Boycie's pencil portrayal is so detailed that some have confused it for a photograph

“I have been down to see Ian and Boycie to tell him that it was in the window,” said Adrian. He said, “Don’t tell me, because everyone who has been going past has been asking me if I’ve seen it”. It’s got some really good reactions around and has been really pleasing to see people saying that they spotted him.

“My little one was saying good night to them both when he went to bed. The drawing was like a part of the family and it was tough to say goodbye. They’re quite a pair, like Morecambe and Wise.”

The artist’s attention turned to Ian, who has been selling the magazine for nine years and is on pitch at Bath’s Union Street with 11-year-old pointer springer Boycie, to show people a side of Big Issue vendors that they may not see while walking by his pitch.

“You walk past them without giving them a second thought,” Adrian added. “I thought this drawing of Ian and Boycie would mean that they can be seen and their story can be told. It was all about trying to get people to stop have a look and take notice. Because, for many, when they see the tabard they have ideas about people without knowing the full story.”

And Ian was well up for posing – even though his pet pooch needed some convincing.

“I took Ian and Boycie to a place in town for the photo because I really wanted a place with good sunlight,” Adrian said. “Every time I tried to take a photo Boycie would bark so I had to take one when he wasn’t looking and be really sly!”

Adrian Thompson-Boyce pencil
Adrian-Thompson-Boyce-with-drawing
Adrian spent 100 hours painstakingly producing the pencil portrait

As for Ian, he has had to get used to local fame after the portrait was installed in the gallery.

“I first saw the finished drawing about four weeks ago and my first thought was that I had put plenty of weight on!” said Ian. “Seriously, I thought it was a very, very good likeness. I’ve had a lot of people coming up to me saying, “You’re famous now” since it went on display and quite a few have even confused it for a photograph.

“Lots of people approach me for different reasons but I’ve never had someone come to me and ask me if they could do a life-size drawing of me before. I saw Adrian just the other day when he came to buy his copy of the mag from me and it seems like he has been getting some really good feedback and everyone seems to be really impressed with it.”

Images: Adrian Thompson-Boyce

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