Tozer enjoyed the collegiality of painting with a variety of other artists, seeing their creative processes, and the out-of-the-box challenge that turned a generally solo pursuit into a mini-art festival. The season 9 winner received a £10,000 commission ($12,150) to paint Sir Lenny Henry, an actor, singer and comedian, for London’s National Portrait Gallery.
“You’re doing a totally insane thing, painting a portrait in four hours on TV. To do it is enough, let alone to beat someone else. That was one of the best bits, meeting the other people. Everyone was extremely supportive. It was a good atmosphere, like the opposite of a competition,” he said.
With the show having aired, he’s hearing from old friends, has picked up many more followers on his Instagram account and accepted an offer to teach an art workshop next summer on the coast of England.
Tozer isn’t a portrait specialist. He also regularly does abstract paintings. After focusing on portraits before the show — including four-hour practice paintings of his son and daughter — during and after, he’s ready to take a break from them.
“I try to do two different things in my work so I don’t get stuck in any one. I don’t have to choose. That’s why I’m an artist, the freedom,” he said, adding that the processes of creating a portrait and an abstract piece aren’t as dissimilar as they seem.
He’s preparing new work for a Groveland Gallery show in Minneapolis in 2023, where he has art for sale, and is wrapping up work with his students in two sections of Drawing 1 this semester.
He calls painting “really fulfilling. There’s nothing I’d rather do.” He equally enjoys teaching art. “We have some amazingly talented students. I can throw them a crumb and they just run with it. I never get tired of it.”
Tozer earned a Master of Fine Arts in painting from the New York Academy of Art after receiving the prestigious Andy Warhol Scholarship. He has a bachelor’s degree in fine art from the University of Ulster at Belfast, Northern Ireland.