5 questions to the Artist: Oliver Jones

While the judges of the 5th edition of the Young Masters Art Prize are getting ready for long-listing, we want to remember our past editions and our amazing alumni. Today we have talked to Oliver Jones, winner of the Highly Commended award of the Young Masters Art Prize 2017.

1. Why did you decide to apply to the Young Masters Art Prize?

My work has always had a strong correlation with works and artists of the past whether this is through the medium of pastel and its fittingness for rendering flesh or by the tradition of observational study and social comment. Young Masters looks specifically at the relationships between art and practitioners of the past and contemporary art practice so it presented an ideal platform to engage these kinds of conversations.

2. How did you choose the work you submitted, and what was is about?

Given the predominant medium that I work in is Pastel, I have been acutely aware of the amazing work of artists such as Jean-Etienne Leotard, De la Tour and Chardin from the outset. I was confident that most of my work encompassed the plump fleshy renderings of skin purveyed by these artists as contemporaries of their day in this medium. Therefore I the decision over which works to include was quite easy for me as I could choose from most of the works from my portfolio, in particular those that I thought best described the work that I make and those which I was most pleased with.

Oliver Jones (c)  Beyond Natural.  Pastel on paper, 63 x 90 cm

Oliver Jones (c) Beyond Natural. Pastel on paper, 63 x 90 cm

3. What did you get from the experience of participating in the Prize?

Excellently, my work was awarded as ‘Highly Commended’ by the judges of the fourth addition of the prize which was presented at a prize giving at the Royal Academy by Charles Saumarez Smith then the Chief Exec. at the RA. The prize has since continued to gain in reputation and profile (in no small part due to the staggering determination of the Prize’s founder Cynthia Corbett and her team) and along with it, all of the artists shortlisted in the prize.

4. How did your career change afterwards?

I certainly have gained a great deal of exposure through being associated with the prize along with sales and some great connections and opportunities that have arisen from being part of it.

5. What advice would you give to artists applying to this year’s prize?

Have an unwavering understanding of your practice and what you do, take pride in what you are presenting and that way the work will speak for itself!