Saturday, December 19, 2015

The John Ruskin Prize 2015: Shortlist

Thirty artists have been shortlisted for The John Ruskin Prize 2015. The Prize winners will be announced at the private view on 25 February 2016.

This is an annual art competition about drawing - with a theme. The Prize was established in 2012 to support emerging British artists. It aims to uphold Ruskin’s belief that drawing helps us see the world and its fragility more clearly.

The theme this year is Recording Britain Now: Society to re-assess their practice and focus on the prevalent social issues of 2015/16. 
In the same way that Recording Britain sought to map familiar townscapes and countryside under threat, this will be an invitation to engage with a society in rapid transition.
I published my post about The John Ruskin Prize 2015: Call for Entries back in June - and this set out some of the background to the Recording Britain now initiative associated with the Second World War.
“It is enlightening to compare the observations of our 30 finalists with those of the 63 artists commissioned by Sir Kenneth Clark (with funds from the Pilgrim Trust) to document Britain under threat during the Second World War. Creating an accessible online gallery from the V&A's historic Recording Britain collection and the contemporary imagery shortlisted for this Prize will make many more people aware of art's power to comment, provoke and urge action”.
Sue Grayson Ford, President, The Big Draw 

The John Ruskin Prize 2015: Short-listed Artists

Links below are to the 'about' pages on the websites of the shortlisted artists. These are:
  • Timothy Betjeman -  graduated with a BA in Visual Art from the University of Chicago plus post-graduate diploma in Drawing from The Royal Drawing School
  • David Borrington - His website says This website publishes latest artwork exploring strange unique analysis, of social political and current affairs.
  • Julian Bovis - an Urban Landscape Artist who predominantly works in pen and ink on paper, producing large-format illustrations and limited-edition Giclee Prints. 
  • Jessie Brennan - a London-based British artist whose practice explores the inter-relation between people and place, through drawing and dialogue. Last month she did a presentation of her project Regeneration - which describes the politics that led to the rise and fall of Robin Hood Gardens - from socialist-inspired post-war public housing to its eventual privation under neoliberalism
What’s highlighted are the dramatically different perceptions of the estate by academic/architectural institutions and the people who actually live there.
  • Sally Cutler - a printmaker whose preferred medium is linocut. She's been developing a series of a series of heads of people living in different locations in the UK. Each head is a real person who lives in, works in or visits the region in the title.
Richmond, North Yorkshire Heads by Sally Cutler

Party Wall (2015)
copright Nathan Ford
  • Nathan Ford -the blurb on his website makes for an interesting read. I've long been familiar with the amount of draughtsmanship and drawing that underpins his paintings - I always love looking at them. His work is above this bullet point - and is very different.
  • Anne Guest - lives and works in Birmingham

  • Stephanie Grainger - currently lives and works in East Sussex who came to visual art by way of theatre and academia.
  • Susie Hamilton - exhibits on a very regular basis in group shows around the UK
I have recently been called a “flaneur” since I observe from the sidelines, scrutinising tourists, shoppers, holidaymakers, diners, hen nights and other scenes of leisure.
Susie Hamilton
  • Peter Haugh 
  • Michelle Heron - lives and works in London and is inspired by the suburban landscape she grew up in: bungalows, alleyways, shops, garages. Recording the mundane, the quotidian and the overlooked.
  • Michael Johnson - In 2014, his work was selected for the Threadneedle Prize, the Derwent Art Prize and the ING Discerning Eye Prize

  • Oliver Jones - His work is currently concerned with the flesh and gives particular reference to its image and presence in the media, in industry and its impact on society and individual identity.
  • Tony Kenyon -an artist printmaker who works in a garden studio overlooking a 12th century church and Winchester Cathedral.
  • Myles Linley -lives in East Yorkshire and creates landscapes, seascapes and street scenes
“The artists selected for the exhibition present diverse perspectives on this year’s theme, with sensitive and sometimes unconventional insights into life in Britain today – from the evidence of poverty and homelessness on our streets to sites of urban regeneration cheek by jowl with dereliction and decay. But the sombre views are complemented by scenes which capture the energy, colour and conviviality that also characterise contemporary British society.
– Gill Saunders, Senior Curator of Prints, V&A (Gill is also Keeper of The ‘Recording Britain’ collection held at V&A). 
  • Graham Martin -drawing and painting the urban scene minus people
  • Julia Midgley - Has developed an interest in war art and surgery following in the path of Henry Tonks. Currently participating in the exhibition War, Art and Surgery at the
    Hunterian Museum from 14 October 2014 - 14 February 2015
W.A.S.148 Patients on Board (2014)
Ink and watercolour
copyright Julia Midgley
  • Joe Munro - an Illustrator and Designer based in the United Kingdom who is interested in reportage, typographical and editorial illustration. Winner of the Moleskine Reportager Student Prize 2015; shortlisted for the V&A Student Illustrator of the Year 2015. 

  • Dominic Negus - I find it very odd that there are absolutely no drawings on his website. This is the work in the exhibition
  • Laura Oldfield Ford - a British artist, writer and psychogeographer. Her work, in ballpoint pen, acrylic paint and spray paint, is politically-motivated and focuses on British urban areas. her work focuses on areas haunted by an urban dispossessed, which regeneration seeks to concrete over
  • Cherry Pickles - an Artist, Lecturer / academic based in Pembrokeshire, Wales. A member of the senior faculty at the Royal Drawing School
  • Hilary Powell - the core of her practice is imaginative salvage, placing value on the overlooked and seemingly mundane and highlighting and creating the extraordinary in the everyday. Some interesting stuff in her Flickr Albums
  • Teresa Robertson - a freelance illustrator, based in Highbury, Islington, London. This is her blog.
  • Robin Sukatorn -

  • Emily Vanns - a Fine Artist living and working in London who has studied at Kingson and the The Royal Drawing School: The Drawing Intensive in 2015.
Reverse Portrait (2015)
Graphite on paper
copyright Nettie Wakefield
  • Nettie Wakefield -  (b.1987) completed a foundation year at Chelsea College of Art; a BA in Art History at Leeds University and her Masters degree in Drawing at Wimbledon College of Art in September 2013. She creates reverse portraits - pencil drawings of the backs of people's heads
  • Emma Wilde - (related site) studied at Norwich University of the Arts and Aberystwyth School of Art. interested in how nature and the built environment co-exist and impose themselves upon each other and the relationships that occur between these liminal spaces.
The Back of Creslow Court I (2013)
Pencil on paper
copyright Emma Wilde
  • Georgia Wisbey
  • Duncan Wood - A member of NEAC. Teaches fine art at institutions including: The University of London, The Royal Academy Schools and recently at The V&A's new ' Sackler Centre' for Art Education. He is a faculty member and tutor at The Prince's Drawing School and exhibits with Browse & Darby.
  • Tanya Wood - a Hampshire based artist whose current practice is meticulous pencil drawing and exploration of the nature of being
“To anyone who is just about to take a smart phone snap of their dinner or a selfie with their puppy I say stop , pick up a pencil and paper and instead , draw this subject which you find so interesting . By doing so you will enter a new realm of thought, memory and reflection , you will inhabit your surroundings on a more profound level and better still, your engagements with the past , the present and the future will be as an objective observer rather than as a passive subject of the monotonous whims and cruel indifference of quotidian habit.

You can effect this transformation at any time and in any place. Please be aware though, your dinner may be cold when you finally come to eat it ".

Adam Dant, artist

The Selection Panel

The Selection Panel were
  • Award winning artist Adam Dant
  • Gill Saunders (Senior Curator of Prints,V&A Museum), 
  • Stephen Snoddy (Director, The New Art Gallery Walsall), 
  • Sue Grayson Ford (Big Draw President), 
  • Clive Wilmer (Master, The Guild of St.George).


£8000 in prizes to be awarded to selected artists:
  • £5000 winning prize, and 
  • new £2000 runner up prize and 
  • £1000 student prize.


A free exhibition of work by the shortlisted artists will run at:
  • The New Art Gallery Walsall - 26 February – 17 April 2016
  • The Electrician’s Shop Gallery, Trinity Buoy Wharf in May 2016.
The exhibitions will be accompanied by a series of talks and events linking with the V&A’s fascinating ‘Recording Britain’ collection and all shortlisted artists will be invited to feature on a free online catalogue featuring both collections exploring visions of Britain through to the present day as seen through the eyes of established and emerging UK artists.

Links to posts about previous years 

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