I studied Fine Art at Loughborough University and graduated in the summer of 2015. A few weeks after my degree show, I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to exhibit two of my paintings at the Free Range Shows held at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. The show was huge; with something like 9 different universities (and several different courses) all showing graduate work in one enormous building. Soon after the opening night, I got an email from Helen at ARTIQ (then Works In Print) to say that she had seen my work at the show and recommended that I submit my paintings for consideration in their Graduate Art Prize 2015.
The decision to enter didn’t take long to make; the competition was free to enter with an online submission system - exactly the sort of opportunity a ‘just-graduated’ artist ought to follow up on. I assumed that Helen had probably sent her email to
everyone that had taken part in the Free Range Show to encourage as many entries as possible and so, despite being pretty confident in my own work, I did not expect a positive response.
Several weeks later, Helen emailed back to say that my kinetic painting ‘Thembi’ had been shortlisted along with 20 other graduates’ work from around the country. What a fantastic surprise! It felt so rewarding to get recognition like this for something that I had worked so hard for. The competition was decided by an online voting system which allowed anyone to login and put a '<3' next to the artworks that they liked the most. I was up against some really great looking work and I cast my vote for an amazing decorative ceramic vase (and no, I didn’t vote for myself - but looking back, I probably should have!). The shortlisted artworks were all delivered to ARTIQ’s office in Shoreditch before being installed for a private exhibition at the major law firm Herbert Smith Freehills' offices near Liverpool Street station.
I didn’t win the competition but I did go on to sign with ARTIQ and my paintings are now listed in their online catalogue. They are a really friendly and helpful team; always easy to communicate with via email and always a pleasure when delivering work to their office. ARTIQ have rented almost all of my current collection of paintings to various clients - which is pretty excellent! It's great to have this platform; my work is getting 'out there' and I am freed up from having to persistently hunt down opportunities and market myself. I am now able to focus what little time I have (after working full time) on actually making my paintings. I look forward to our continued relationship and I would definitely recommend that graduates enter for the Graduate Art Prize in 2016.