Saturday, November 25, 2017

Evening Standard Contemporary Art Prize

I'm not quite sure how I managed to miss the introduction, calls for entries and various videos about the NEW London Evening Standard Contemporary Art Prize - which offered a £10,000 prize for artwork about London. 

Until I started to investigate how it was promoted that is....

27th October 2017 - The article announcing the award of the prize to Helen A Pritchard

People introducing new art prizes generally write to me early on, especially if they offer £10,000 prizes as that's my basic threshold for taking art prizes seriously and writing about them.

However I guess if you are the Evening Standard you reckon that you can survive without me! ;)

However, speaking personally, I only read the Evening Standard periodically and despite having various ways of picking up news about new art prizes I totally missed anything about it.

Plus my many readers also tend to tell me about things they've read about or seen and also tell me about them and ask when I will be writing about them. However nobody wrote to me about it.

So below is a summary of what my understanding is of what happened for those who might be interested should they repeat the exercise - which is unclear as I can't find any one website which provides information.

Number of Entries - just 200!

Before I start, I'd like to make the very important point that 200 entries - which is what they say they got - is about 10% of what I would expect for a serious art prize in the UK. 

Let's be very generous and call it 20% of the sort of size of entry art prizes with a serious first prize get.

As a result I did lots of interrogations of Google to find references to the Call for Entries - and could find nothing other than the Evening Standard posts.

I did find a reference to it on the Evening Standard Facebook Page for Reader Offers - but absolutely no comments on it. 

Then I did a search on Facebook and found incredibly few references to it. (Art Competitions with serious prizes generally generates lots of activity on Facebook - lots of likes and lots of comments. This one did neither)

So I can only conclude that the marketing machinery didn't know WHO to contact to get coverage in terms of artists reading about this great opportunity.  There are listings of people who get told about art competitions - I know I'm on it and I get told about lots - but draw a line in relation to what I will cover. I would have covered this one - if I'd ever been told about it!

So whatever else we can say about this prize, it's not difficult to conclude that:
  • getting the message out about this prize FAILED
  • the art competition could have had very many more entries if it had organised itself and promoted it rather better than it did
  • The Evening Standard is not enough to promote an art prize and get a serious entry!
Bottom line if I was Hiscox, who were sponsoring the prize, I'd be pretty disappointed.

What happened when and where

What we have are:
  • a webpage for the London Evening Standard Contemporary Art Prize - which isn't a page with information. 
    • It's just a Topic Page on the Evening Standard website with lots of links to other URLs which focus on the pictures rather than what they are all about. 
    • There are no words and 
    • no Editorial input of "want to find out more - read this". I'm now becoming less confused as to how come I missed it.....
  • 27 April 2017Evening Standard Contemporary Art Prize: Artists can win £10,000 for putting London on canvas (8 shares) - Note the number of shares! There are a few details about who can enter (open to UK residents aged 18 and over) and the prize - and then it says To find out more and enter the London Evening Standard Contemporary Art Prize, go to - which takes is back to my first link above - which is sadly missing all the normal information for entering a prize e.g. like the deadline for entries!  The only links which look remotely like they might lead to the information about how to enter lead back to the article above - which doesn't say a single word about "how to enter". Am I missing something? Have I found found out why there are so few entries?
They will be given “London” as their brief and asked to submit a painting with the winning work, chosen from a shortlist, announced at an event at the National Gallery on October 26.
If you’ll be putting the finishing touches to your work right until the final hour, make note that no entries will be considered after midnight this Sunday (September 24).
Entries cannot be bigger than 594 x 841 mm, and if shortlisted, need to be sent in for judging by October 16.
  • 26 October 2017 - Evening Standard Contemporary Art Prize: The shortlisted artists in the frame for £10k prize - Video of the Arts Editor of the Evening Standard at the offices of Hiscox talking about the competition. We see images of various artworks. There is no reference to what the title is and who the artist is. Very disappointing. Obviously this competition is all about the Evening Standard and Hiscox
  • 27 October 2017 - there is an article announcing the winner - Evening Standard Contemporary Art Prize: Helen A Pritchard's abstract 'love letter to London' wins £10k prize (144 shares) - The South African-born artist's painting beat over 200 other works to the £10k prize - another video with the announcement of who won the prize and why.  The event seems to be the sort where lots of people who know little about art drink Prosecco and talk to one another and pointedly ignore the art.  Then finally.... as I scrolled down the article I found a listing of the artists who got shortlisted for the prize (but no unique URL for the slideshow - which is a poor show!)
I couldn't find any reference to any exhibition - so no opportunities for sales which are often an important incentive to artists entering art competitions.

The shortlisted artists

So here is the list of those who got shortlisted - and as I usually do, the links in their names are to their websites if you want to see more of their work

and finally......

I'd be very interested to hear from

  • those running art schools or teaching art or art students in London re. whether you heard about this prize and/or encouraged people to enter.
  • artists who did find out more about it - and where you found the information and what did it say.


  1. I was told about this a week before the deadline and threw a very bad painting together. Also, you could only enter one painting, but they wanted 3 photos!!!! I only sent one, and their request for 2 more, went into my spam folder; I didn't see it until the day after the deadline. Doing the painting has given a few ideas on other paintings I want to do, so not a total loss. I also told Nathan Bowen about it, but I don't know if he entered.

  2. Three photos for one painting?

    That's the first time I've heard of that. Normal re. sculpture / 3D entries but not paintings.

    They do sound to be very inexperienced art competition organisers - who need a few lessons in how to run an art competition...


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