Antony Micallef is seen as one of Britain’s most electrifying young painters and has exhibited throughout the world from L.A, Tokyo to Palestine. As well as exhibiting at the National Portrait Gallery recent group shows include the Royal Academy, Burlington Gardens and a print show at the Tate Britain.

His first breakthrough came when he won second prize in the BP Portrait Award in 2000. He was spotted around that time by Steve Lazarides, who tells me that he was attracted by “that deep well of darkness that’s in everything Antony does, but married to this colourful pop sensibility”.

Micallef says much of his inspiration comes from his urban surroundings. “The other day, I went down into the tube at Bond Street, and on the escalator, there was this sudden, overwhelming aroma of fast food. Then, as I walked further down, it mixed in with this hot nail-varnish smell. It was repulsive, but then suddenly I thought: 'That’s exactly the atmosphere I want in my paintings’.

 Micallef has been selling to an A-list clientele, including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Jude Law who have paid up to £30,000 for his paintings.