H. Craig Hanna, an American painter who lives and works in London and Malta won third prize in 2001 for the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery. He studied Fine Art in New York at Syracuse University, the School of Visual Arts in New York City and at the New York Academy of Figurative Art and worked as an assistant to New York artist, David Salle.

Painting from life, Hanna takes his sketchbooks with him wherever he goes, drawing faces or bodies that capture his interest. As a struggling artist in New York he worked as a model to supplement his earnings. It was during a pause on a fashion shoot that Hanna was spotted sketching by a Bergdorf Goodman department store executive who, on the strength of his sketches, offered him an exhibition at The Gallery at Bergdorf Goodman.

The exhibition sold out and since then his artistic career has never faltered.

Hanna’s panel paintings are hauntingly beautiful. In his most recent work Hanna uses the natural support of wood in the classical diptych format to paint his rich oil colour images with a skill as a draughtsman which is the envy of many of his contemporaries. The diptych format allows Hanna to play off his subjects and mediums - figures are juxtaposed with landscape, wood grain with textural paint, portraits with abstract forms.  This juxtaposition allows him to site two very different artists  - Whistler and Rothko  - as his artistic heroes.

"My approach to making a painting starts with the selection and organisation of colour. I use a diptych format as a compositional device to emphasize this. Painting the figure is a challenge and one which has obsessed artistic pursuit since the origins of early Hellenistic sculpture," states Hanna.  "My influences range from Indian Mogul paintings to Velasquez to Ad Rienhart; however the real trick is to understand not how to replicate these, but to follow my own direction to the same heights of quality."

Hanna has exhibited widely, to great acclaim in London, New York, California,  Sardinia and Hong Kong. His work can be found in major international  collections, including that of Marc Jacobs, Drew Barrymore, Ed Norton, Jonathan Dimbleby and The Groucho Club in London.