In an extraordinary event at Virgin Money, British artist Lincoln Townley made the first public display of three paintings from his new Surprise Collection together with a portrait of business Icon, Sir Richard Branson. The Surprise Collection is the most visceral and intense collection Townley has painted and is already attracting huge interest from new and existing collectors of Townley’s work. The composition of the paintings, with layer after layer of paint willing us to sink into the canvas, reflects the layers of our lives, from the lazy certainty of our conscious minds to the radical unpredictability of the unconscious. The theme of uncertainty is central to the idea of surprise and those who thrive on surprise can transform the indiscriminate violence of random events and the turbulence of the unconscious, into wealth, power and status. It was fitting, therefore, that the two paintings that took centre stage were Never Accepting a No and the portrait of Sir Richard Branson who, like Townley, embodies the spirit of risk and resilience.

Pop artist unveils Richard Branson painting in new collection

A portrait of Sir Richard Branson by pop artist Lincoln Townley is unveiled today. The work, part of Townley’s ICON collection of famous and influential people, is one of three paintings released by the artist at a private viewing at one of Virgin Money’s Lounges in Haymarket.

The main event featured Townley and psychologist Dr. Peter Hughes discussing Townley’s life and work. Hughes is a close friend of Townley’s who helped him recover from addiction. He also curates Townley’s work and created the idea of The Hunger, which was also the title of a biographical novel he wrote based on Townley’s life. In a wide-ranging and extremely frank discussion that held the audience spellbound, Townley and Hughes talked about the central themes of The Surprise Collection including the refusal to accept rejection, the proximity of artistic creativity and self-destruction and the ability to harness the unpredictable power of the unconscious that defines the psychology of highly successful people. This complete Surprise Collection together with short feature films directed by Townley will be featured for two months starting August 2017, in a major exhibition of Townley’s work at the Brisbane Powerhouse in Queensland, Australia.

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