Monday, February 19, 2018

The 4th Derwent Art Prize 2018 - Call for Entries

This is about the Call for Entries from international artists for The 4th Derwent Art Prize
The Prize aims to reward excellence by showcasing the very best 2D & 3D artworks created in created with any pencil or coloured pencil as well as water soluble, pastel, graphite and charcoal by British and International artists.
The prizes total £12,500 and the deadline for entry is 8th May 2018 (5pm GMT)

This is a digest of
  • who can enter, 
  • what you can enter and 
  • how the process works 
  • with an overview of the timeline of dates. 

The Exhibition

Approximately 80 drawings will be selected for exhibition at the Mall Galleries.

  • The exhibition will be held between from 18th – 23rd September 2018. 
  • All artists selected for exhibition will be invited to the Private View and Prize Giving on the evening of Tuesday 18th September 2018.
  • The exhibition will then tour to a number of venues throughout the UK - which means that all work submitted to the competition for exhibition must be available until 31st January 2019.
View of part of the Third Derwent Art Prize Exhibition

The Prizes

The Prize Fund is divided as follows:
  • First Prize £6,000
  • Second Prize £3,000
  • Third Prize £1,500
  • People’s Choice Award – Exhibition £750
  • Young Artist Award – For artists under 25 years £750
  • Coloured Pencil Award for Excellence – £500

The Selectors

A gallery curator, a leading artist and an art critic comprise the independent selection panel who decided which work gets selected for exhibition and which work gets prizes.

They are:
  • Gill Saunders, Head Prints within the Word and Image Department at the V&A. I know her from two of her books which I've got Picturing Plants:An Analytical History of Botanical Illustrations (1995) and Recording Britain (2011)
  • Clare Woods - a painter who trained as a sculptor and is essentially concerned with sculpting an image in paint, and expressing the strangeness of an object.  (This seems like a very odd choice for a competition involving dry media. Is it too much to ask that this competition is judged by a well-regarded practitioner who specialises in drawing! There are after all quite a few of them!!!)
  • Chris Sharratt - a freelance arts writer based in Glasgow who is currently the Editor of the A-N website but has also written for a number of publications
I very much hope that this year the organisers actually check that the judges have both read and understand the conditions of entry! (i.e. no making up their own version of entry requirements and terms and conditions!) I don't enjoy highlighting Judges who very clearly breach the rules of the competition. See Derwent Art Prize 2014 - ineligible drawing wins first prize?

How to Enter

The official websites / pages of information

This is the website (which has now addressed the major omission which I identified last time I wrote this blog post in 2016)
This is the Facebook Page - which is never very active.
This is the Twitter account @DerwentPencils which is quite active.
You can see the Derwent Art Range on the sponsor's website.

You can download catalogues from previous competitions to see the sort of work that gets selected

If intending to submit an entry do make sure you read carefully
This is the Online Entry Form

The competition and exhibition organisers are Parker Harris. Further enquiries about the competition should be addressed to Parker Harris, on: or Tel. + 44 (0) 1372 462190 - but do look at the FAQs first!

Who can enter?

The Prize is open to all British and international artists (as defined by the rules)
  • Nationality:  The eligible geographical regions / countries are: 
    • Europe, 
    • North America,
    • South America, 
    • Africa, 
    • Asia (participating countries: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand), 
    • The Middle East (participating countries: United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan) and 
    • Oceania (Australia, New Zealand). 
  • Who else can enter
    • Previous prizewinners can enter
    • A third party agency (such as a gallery) can enter work but there are significant conditions that must be met (i.e. the third party must confirm the conditions stated point 7 of the Terms & Conditions.)
  • Age: 
    • All entrants must be over the age of 18 years old on 1st June 2018. 
    • You also have to be alive!

Eligible artwork

Eligible media

The work entered must be created in pencil (including water-soluble, pastel, graphite, charcoal or coloured pencils).
  • Any component part of the pencil can also be used in the creation of artworks. 
  • FAQ: Is any pencil type admissible? Yes, you can use any pencil including water-soluble, pastel, graphite, charcoal or coloured pencils on any 2 or 3 dimensional support.
My personal view is that it was self evident that some works in previous exhibitions had very clearly been completed using pastel or charcoal STICKS not pencils. I think the conditions could be clearer on this point - or query the artist when it seems extremely unlikely that they used pencils. The wording IMO is ambiguous e.g. does it really mean "The work entered must be created in pastel, graphite, charcoal or pencil (including water-soluble or coloured pencils)"? IMO that is very obviously the way some artists are interpreting it. The addition of 'any component part' does not  adequately address the sticks versus core issue.

Eligible artwork

  • Number:  artists can submit up to six of their works - 
  • Size: must not exceed 182cms in its greatest dimension. There is no minimum size limit. 
  • Format:  The Prize is open to both 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional works. The First Prize winner was a scroll!
  • Image format: jpg digital file - max. 1MB file size
  • Date completed: All entered work must have been completed within the last 3 years. 
  • Availability: The work selected for exhibition MUST be available from 1st September 2018 – 31st January 2019 .
  • For Sale: Works can be offered for sale but it's NOT a condition that they must be for sale. (Prizes should include the 40% commission that will be deducted if sold)
For the non-metrically inclined 182cm = 71 inches

In addition....
Each artist by entering the Derwent Art Prize confirms that they hold all intellectual property rights in the work and that they have obtained prior written approval for the use of any third party copyrighted material contained in the submitted work.
Inadmissable artwork

Interestingly I see that the inadmissible artwork definitions are now much more precise

Also the Cumberland Pencil Company (who own Derwent) now gets to have the final determination of what is inadmissable. I'm not at all surprised given the way their name was tarnished by the ineligible drawing which won first prize in 2014 (See Derwent Art Prize 2014 - ineligible drawing wins first prize?). I think this is an extremely sensible move.  

Sponsors sponsor competitions so enhance the status of their name and product - and everybody concerned (including Selectors) need to be very clear about this.

This is an extract from Condition 8 which defines ineligible artwork.
The Company shall retain full and sole discretion over every question as to the admissibility or otherwise of any given work. The following are examples (without limitation) of inadmissible works:
  • Copies of original works;
  • Works that are in breach of copyright (or reasonably considered by the Company to create a risk of infringing upon a copyright;
  • Works that have been previously exhibited;
  • The work is incomplete;
  • Work, that in the reasonable view of the Company, contain noxious or toxic substances, are flammable below 50°C or incorporate dangerous electrical equipment or are otherwise considered inconsistent with safe exhibition, handling or storage;
  • Work, that in the reasonable view of the Company, is likely to breach the Racial and Religious Hatred Act, 2006/

How do you enter?

  • This year ALL entries must be submitted online. 
  • An entry comprises:
    • The completed online entry form
    • Images of up to 6 recent works, in digital format (jpg, max. 1MB file size)
    • A non-refundable application fee ( £15 for the first work and £5 for additional works.)
  • This is the Online Entry Form - and start of the process which includes up;oading digital images and paying the entry fees
Note - you only get ONE CHANCE TO ENTER so make sure you have all relevant images and details to hand when you start the online entry process. You can't come back and add more in or change the entry

Competition Timeline

The key dates are as follows
  • Deadline for entry: 8th May 2018 (5pm GMT)
  • Artists Notified re. Selection:  4th June 2018
Delivery of work UNWRAPPED: Entries shall be sent:
  • By post or courier: to arrive between the 28th August to 13th September 2018 to Art Moves of Chelsea, Chelsea Self Storage, Blantyre Street, London, SW10 0EQ
  • In person: to arrive on the 13th September 2018, between 10am and 5pm to Art Moves of Chelsea, Chelsea Self Storage, Blantyre Street, London, SW10 0EQ
Exhibition / Tour
  • 18th - 23rd September 2018: Exhibition opens to public
  • 18th September 2018: Private View and Prize Winners announced
  • October – December 2018: Exhibition tour

Derwent Art Prize: other blog posts

Derwent Art Prize 2016

Derwent Art Prize 2014

Derwent Art Prize 2013

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