The Derwent Art Prize, 2013

This week we are delighted to announce that Undecided Art Collective member, pencil artist Adam Harvey was recently selected as a finalist in the inaugural Derwent Art Prize. Two of Adams drawings, based on his work as an operating theatre support worker, were chosen from almost 3600 entries and have been displayed at the Mall Galleries in London along with 91 other pieces chosen for the exhibition entirely dedicated to works created in pencil.

UAC representatives Rachael Berry, Adam Harvey and Avi Tal attended the private view and winner announcement last week.

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The competition was open to anyone over the age of 18 throughout the world and the selectors for the prize included Yvonne Crossley (former professor and Vice Principal at Wimbledon School of Art and director of the UK’s first private gallery to focus entirely upon contemporary drawing), Professor Stephen Farthing RA (Chair of Drawing at the University of the Arts, London) and Fisun Güner (journalist and freelance visual arts writer for theartsdesk.com, Metro, the Independent and other publications).

Adam, although having always had a talent for drawing, has never pursued a career in art or entered any of his work into open submission shows or competitions at any level before so, being accepted to a major art prize (after a friend surreptitiously entered his work on his behalf) has been a very new and unexpected experience for him. We’re all immensely proud and delighted to have such clear talent in our ranks here at the Undecided Art Collective.

“I’ve worked in operating theatres for roughly four years now and and have always carried a sketchbook. Initially I began sketching at work for the sole reason of exercising my observational skills. Occasionally I get a small window of opportunity to draw what I see. The drawings have to be rendered very quickly as I’m always busy and the environment is almost constantly moving.”
Adam Harvey, UAC 2013.

One of Adam Harvey's sketches that were shortlisted for the Derwent prize.

One of Adam Harvey’s sketches that were shortlisted for the Derwent prize.

First Prize winner Chrys Allen with her drawing 'Walk in Progress: Koli'

First Prize winner Chrys Allen with her drawing ‘Walk in Progress: Koli’

The prize is the first of its kind and aims to raise the profile of the pencil and of drawing as a serious art form in its own right.
The final selection encompassed a huge range of styles and techniques, all of exceptional quality and skill. The show really did serve to demonstrate and celebrate the huge diversity and potential of the humble pencil, which is sadly so often overlooked.

The First prize of £5000 went to the delightful Chrys Allen for her piece ‘ Walk in progress: Koli’, an unfurled ten metre scroll of paper tracking a journey through a landscape. Beautiful stuff and a well deserved placement among some seriously hot competition. Well done Chrys!

Our favourites included (but were by no means limited to) the utterly magical ‘Parting Gifts (fish) by Paul Thomas, ‘Fanfare for a common man’ by Bernard Nao Kitama, ‘Crow’ by Valentina Zlatarova, ‘Noon’ by Ryotaro Yamanaka, the winning piece by Chrys Allen and Construstion II (conditional perfect) by Liz Collini.
The show will now tour other venues around the UK and will be on display at the Pencil museum in Keswick between from 1 December 2013 and 13 January 2014.

We had a wonderful time at the show, saw some truly beautiful works of art, enjoyed an incredibly friendly, exciting atmosphere and met some genuinely lovely people. All in all a big win for Derwent and a joy to have been a part of.
After such a successful, well attended and well received first year I suspect that competition for next years prize will be very strong indeed so, if you’re thinking of entering, visit the website, mark the deadline in your diary and get your pencils out!

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