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Questions to the Artist: Ghost of a Dream

While the judges of the 5th edition of the Young Masters Art Prize are getting ready for short-listing, we want to remember our past editions and our amazing alumni. Today we have talked to Ghost of a Dream, The Collaborative Project of Lauren Was and Adam Eckstrom – winner of the very first Young Masters Art Prize 2009.

Ghost of a Dream .  Dream Home  (2009). Dream Home 2009 Discarded Lottery Tickets Wood and Mixed Media Dimensions variable, 8 panels plus furnishings and paintings.

Ghost of a Dream. Dream Home (2009). Dream Home 2009 Discarded Lottery Tickets Wood and Mixed Media Dimensions variable, 8 panels plus furnishings and paintings.

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

We met Cynthia in Basel where we were exhibiting our Dream Home during the Basel art fairs. From there, a wonderful relationship followed. Cynthia invited us to be part of the inaugural Young Masters curation shortly after we met in Basel and our Dream Home went straight from Switzerland to London. This was all very exciting for us. Those fairs in Basel was one of the first times we had shown our work anywhere, as we has only been working together about 2 years.

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

the piece we did show, was titled Dream Home. It is a dining room we made with $70,000 worth of losing discarded scratch off lottery tickets. It was made while we lived in Basel Switzerland for six months in 2009. It was part of a trilogy where we made the three things people dream about when playing the lottery, and top 3 things people buy if they win; The Dream Home, The Dream Car, and The Dream Vacation. For the Dream Home, we made it in the style of a European period room. Inside the room where two "paintings" that we also made with discarded lottery tickets. They were copies of two things that were tied to the UK lottery through the National Heritage Fund. The fund was a highly contested issue at the time since so much of the funding was going to the arts, rather than things like education and housing. So we copied a Hans Holbein the Younger painting that was purchased using money from the Heritage Fund, as well as copying a painting from a church in Ealing, which was restored using those same lottery funds.

3. What did you get from the experience of participating in the Prize and how did your career change afterwards?

Following the prize, Cynthia has taken us to many fairs, which have led to many other opportunities, including being part of Bologna's Art First, as well as placing our work in many prominent art collections.

4. What would you say to artists who have applied to this year’s Prize?

Cynthia is a whirlwind of energy that is lovely to work with. We wish everyone best of luck!

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!

5 questions to the Artist: Azita Moradkhani

While the call for artists of the 5th edition of the Young Masters Art Prize is in full play, we want to remember our past editions and our amazing alumni. Today we have talked to Azita Moradkhani, winner of the Young Masters Art Prize and Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize in 2017.

Azita Moradkhani

Azita Moradkhani

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

The Masters are extremely relevant to my work. I maintain a traditional artistic practice, using representation to comment on the contemporary world. I’m interested in bringing back beauty and realism to contemporary art, using formality, virtuosity, and delicacy to connect my work aesthetically to art of the past. So, when I heard about the Young Masters Art Prize, I thought it would be a great fit for the kind of projects I was working on.

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

In my art-making process, I take time to go through the channels of the art world and make my points aesthetically approachable, but aesthetic pleasure is not enough. There has to be a conceptual dimension as well, and I want to challenge viewers to recognise the significance of both of these and how they work together in so many of the images made available to us. Themes from the Old Masters’ works emerge in my two drawings that I submitted for the prize. In one of the drawings – “Becoming” – I used the nearly-touching hands of God and Adam from the iconic image by Michelangelo. I challenge the story of Adam’s creation as an idealised representation of the physical birth of a man rather than of a woman. My piece points out the power of women’ bodies to give birth to humankind even while we are limited in our power to make decisions about our own bodies.

Azita Moradkhani (c)  Becoming (Victorious Secrets).  2016. Coloured pencils on paper, 30.5 x 40.6 cm

Azita Moradkhani (c) Becoming (Victorious Secrets). 2016. Coloured pencils on paper, 30.5 x 40.6 cm

In another drawing – “Not Too Far Away” – I use a photograph of migrants arriving in Greece on a Turkish boat in 2015. This piece was inspired by the painting “The Raft of the Medusa” by Théodore Gericault. The figure at the top right side of the drawing, holding a piece of fabric, is repeated in the figure of a child, also holding a cloth, at the top left side. Both of these images show immigrants drifting on the sea, risking their vulnerable bodies for the hope of a better future.

Azita Moradkhani (c)  Not Too Far Away (Victorious Secrets).  2016. Coloured pencils on paper, 30.5 x 43.3 cm

Azita Moradkhani (c) Not Too Far Away (Victorious Secrets). 2016. Coloured pencils on paper, 30.5 x 43.3 cm

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

Winning the Young Masters Art Prize and the Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize from The Cynthia Corbett Gallery has been an honour for me and I am very grateful for that. Through this experience, I have had the pleasure to work with The Cynthia Corbett Gallery and meet art professionals including curators, critics, collectors, and other artists beyond the borders of America.

4. How did your career change afterwards?

After winning the prize in 2017, through The Cynthia Corbett Gallery, my work has been exhibited internationally at different places such as London Art Fair, Art New York, Royal Academy of Arts, Art Miami, The Royal Opera Arcade Gallery, and The Royal Over-Seas League. Also, I have been interviewed and my work has been reviewed in different prestige publications such as The Guardian, BBC Persian, Financial Times, Women in Art, Crafts Council, After Nyne Magazine.

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

I strongly encourage all the visual artists in different disciplines around the world to apply to this great opportunity. I advise them to read the application carefully and take the time to answer the questions about their work and artist statement. Best of luck in this journey!

Artists wishing to apply to the Young Masters Art Prize are encouraged to do so until 31 May 2019.

5 questions to the Artist: Christopher Stacey

While the call for artists of the 5th edition of the Young Masters Art Prize is in full play, we want to remember our past editions and our amazing alumni. Today we have talked to Christopher Stacey, our shortlisted artist of the 3d edition of the Prize in 2014.

Christopher Stacey

Christopher Stacey

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

As an artist for whom authenticity, expression and the  visceral reality of human form and thought are paramount,  the overwhelming impact of say,  Bernini’s Rape of Proserpina is undeniable. Its rage, sensuality and above all, overwhelming sense of flesh are at once terrifying and  beguiling.  To be part of a prize that protects and promotes the core values of such practice anew is both exciting and an honour.

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

The Physician is the largest, most ambitious of my recent ‘flower’ works. Although the arc of my work now rests on flowers, not as previously the human form, I find that I am seeking the same things, only from a somewhat different direction. It is still flesh, soul and violence. They are all still portraits.

I longed to transgress into abstract expressionism. I wanted something that lay somewhere between the lyricism of Waterhouse and the undiluted energy of de Kooning.

Christopher Stacey,  Physician

Christopher Stacey, Physician

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

A sense that you are part of something new as well as part of something that spans ages.

4. How did your career change afterwards?

I began a family and now have a beautiful girl and boy.  After a hiatus, I suppose it changed my practice. I began painting flowers rescued from my late parents’ garden and my work became more confident, focused and infinitely freer. Ironically, I began to receive requests for portrait commissions soon afterwards.

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

To trust yourself. To see what others do not, especially when it’s in plain sight.

Artists wishing to apply to the Young Masters Art Prize are encouraged to do so until 31 May 2019.

5 questions to the Artist: Eleanor Watson

While the call for artists of the 5th edition of the Young Masters Art Prize is in full play, we want to remember our past editions and our amazing alumni. Today we have talked to Eleanor Watson, our shortlisted artist of the 3d edition of the Prize in 2014.

Eleanor Watson in her studio. (c)  Bonbon Photography

Eleanor Watson in her studio. (c) Bonbon Photography

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

I felt that the focus on how artists pay homage to, and are indebted to Art History, was interesting and very relevant. My work is about historical spaces and how we consume them through engaging with the Heritage industry. Therefore, very dependent on particular references; to historical objects, furniture, tapestries, architecture, and paintings including still-life, portraiture and picturesque landscapes.

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

I selected a few pieces I had already made and created new work for the exhibition itself. With a particular focus on work I felt showed its connection with Art History and the history of interior painting.

Eleanor Watson,  Conversation , oil on canvas, 150x100cm

Eleanor Watson, Conversation, oil on canvas, 150x100cm

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

It has been very positive. Cynthia Corbett is a great ambassador for emerging artists and through ongoing support and sales I have continued my art practice with confidence.

4. How did your career change afterwards?

I have continued to expand my understanding of how my work relates to Art History. I was subsequently accepted on to the Drawing Year at the Royal Drawing School in 2015-16, an institution which holds great regard for learning from the canon of Art History. Since then, I was awarded the Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award, which is a very generous residency in Derbyshire, culminating in a solo exhibition, 'Dear Reader,', at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery in 2017. I am currently undertaking a Masters at City and Guilds of London Art School.

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

Go for it!

Artists wishing to apply to the Young Masters Art Prize are encouraged to do so until 31 May 2019.