Degree Art's Signature Art Prize recognises emerging artists who are currently art students or recent graduates and have a distinctive signature style. This year's field is particularly strong, ranging from Megan Rose Skill's gravity-defying girl on a swing to the blinking metropolis by Lola Lazaro Hinks. Despite there being five categories to pick winners for, the judges had a tough time as many of the nominees were deserving of a prize.
The winners were announced on 25 September and received a cash prize and representation by Degree Art. We spoke to the recipients to find out about what inspired their pieces:
The painting prize was won by Seung Ah Paik for her gigantic nude. She wanted the viewer to feel surrounded by the body so that they were almost overwhelmed by her work. Special mention in this category should also go to Phil Davis' sun kissed city view. The choice of colour palette gives it a vibrancy not seen in other cityscapes.
Emily Macinnes won the photography prize with her political piece that features a map of Kurdistan projected on to a Kurdish man's back. She was inspired by the plight of the Kurds whose ancestral home has no statehood, yet who hold steadfastly to their national identity.
The mixed media category was, in our opinion, the toughest category, yet produced a worthy winner. Matthew Spencer's picture of an abandoned fighter jet is carved out of MDF — he feels that the ubiquity of this material contrasts with the traditional nature and antiquity of the plane. In this category, we also loved the humour in Laura Fishman's 'Pour No. 2' where the painting seems to have missed its target.
The final category was sculpture and Hans Clausen won this with 'notion' — a metal frame in the shape of a skip. He told us that he's found many inspiring things within skips and this is a homage to his creative birth, while also representing the emptiness we often feel in life.
The keen-eyed reader will have spotted that still leaves one more category to be awarded and this is where you come in. Another prize will be awarded to the people's choice so make sure you cast your vote before 29 October.
The four winners and nominees for the Signature Art Prize will be on display at Degree Art's Execution Room, 12a Vyner Street, E2 9DG from 4 October to 11 November. Admission is free.