Tag Archives: art competitions


23 May


The deadline for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition is pressing upon us, like a paunchy red-trousered sextagenarian taking liberties with our bottoms when he squeezes far too intimately past in the train’s buffet car on the way back to his seat in First Class. Another in Parker Harris‘ comprehensive range of reception hoppers for the excess money of aspiring artists, it will cost you £15 per image to get up to four of your works in front of the “panel of leading figures in the art world, including Sarah Armstrong Jones, artist; Ben Ravenscroft, artist: Desmond Shawe-Taylor CVO, Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures; and Louis Wise, Critic and Writer, The Sunday Times.”

Sarah Armstrong Jones and The Times are being terribly modest because Sarah is actually The Lady Sarah Frances Elizabeth Chatto, daughter of the 1st Earl of Snowdon and Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon and second daughter of George VI. Sarah is 20th in line to the throne. She’s the niece of Queen Elizabeth II, but over her lifetime Lady Chatto has slipped from seventh in line to her current sad ranking, the poor old thing. She either didn’t suck up to Her Maj enough, or she failed to avail herself of opportunities for royal sibling murder. Any road up, who better to dangle the hope of cash prizes to ordinary, ambitious people than a woman who never worked a day in her life because she was born at the apex of a feudal, plutocratic and super wealthy elite who live mainly at the British tax payers’ expense? In honour of the competition I executed a modest watercolour of her. I hope she likes it. I gave her a crown, because you know she’s been to a fancy dress shop or a Burger King to pick up a toy one so she can “jokingly” just see what it looks like. I admit the mouth area went a big wrong. She doesn’t have a ginger beard in real life and she is not a gut-munching cannibal either.


It’s artistic license, OK?


£15 down the crapper. SFX: Old fashioned “ker-ching!” till ring.

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3 Sep

brent_painting_largeThe American artist who made this prizewinning work is 37 years old (nearly too old to be an “emerging artist”!) and he’s based in Keithville, Louisiana. He has developed a unique canvas-based practice in which he uses his tongue to apply pigment with a methodical understanding of seriality that leads to a rich columnar vocabulary of mark-making. His name is Brent and he looks like this:

brent_resizeBrent recently won first prize in the Chimpanzee Art Competition run by the Humane Society of the United States and voted for by the public. The entrants have all formerly been used for medical research, kept in unsuitable zoos, or rescued from abusive “acting” or “performing” situations. They now live out their retirements in various sanctuaries, where some of them paint better than a number of Debut Contemporary’s clients. Their paintings will soon be auctioned on eBay to raise money for charity. The chimp paintings, I mean, not paintings by Debut Contemporary’s clients. No sane person wants to buy their paintings.

Great “serious artist” photo posing, Brent. Intense, grizzled, macho, very Picasso.

Cheetah won second prize. For his portrait he decided to go for more of a jobbing painter crazy hair and covered in paint bohemian look. It seems like Cheetah’s been trying out Brent’s mouth-painting technique. Either that or he idolises Van Gogh so much that he decided to go bonkers and eat paint like his hero. I advise keeping Cheetah away from razors to prevent the occurence of some hideous mashup of Lust for Life and Murders in the Rue Morgue.

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7 Feb

Parker Harris is “one of the leading visual arts consultancies in the UK“, responsible for a number of well-known schemes or competitions including the Jerwood Drawing Prize and, er… the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition. Most of them require an entry fee, and the fact that these competitions proliferate and stick around is de facto proof that they’re a nice little earner. So for the next few minutes let me be your Countdown-era Carol Vorderman (minus the sketchy ads for predatory debt consolidation companies who put people’s homes at risk, the sketchy ads for fish oil, etc, ad nauseum) as we do the maths on the “opportunities for artists” currently on offer. Continue reading

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