LGC Art Prize

painting of man and woman on bed adam and ever liver transplant patient

I am absolutely delighted that “Man and Woman” has been shortlisted for the Theo Paphitis LGC Art Prize. Out of 837 submissions, they shortlisted just 11 artworks, so I am feeling extremely grateful that the judges chose my work to be amongst the finalists.

It is a painting that has taken rather a long time for me to finish (I wrote more about the painting and how I recently repainted it here). I have had a troubled relationship with this piece. I started working on it during a time of great loss and pain. It has spent ten years in an unfinished state. I could not work out what was wrong with it, but I suspect unresolved feelings from that time made me feel uncomfortable working on it.

detail from man and woman, shortlisted for the lgc art prize

Anyway, it’s finished now, and it’s so encouraging having such a personal piece being endorsed by the judges. Working alone in a studio, it is all too easy to start having doubts about particular paintings and projects. Will people understand them? Will anyone make a connection with my work? So a big thank you to the judges – Kate Brinkworth, Tom Croft, Brian Reed, Jayne Kay, and a special thanks to Theo Paphitis who set up and supports the LGC Art Prize.

The LGC Art Prize Shortlist

Update. And the winner is….

Theo Phaphitis presenting winner Tom Mead with his prize
Theo Phaphitis presenting winner Tom Mead with his prize

It was a wonderful and quite lavish awards ceremony. Theo Paphitis must be congratulated for hosting this excellent addition to the Arts calendar. Tom Meads was the deserved winner with his painting ‘Stoic’. You can read more about the three different winners here: theopaphitis.com/my-blog
What I particularly enjoyed about the judges’ selection was that they chose works that actually followed the theme “connection” – not always the case with themed shows.

theo paphitis standing next to the painting Man and Woman
Head judge Theo Paphitis in front of my painting

One very nice touch was how, after the awards ceremony, they then gave each artist a goody bag full of art materials. I’ve not seen that in any competitions I’ve been shortlisted for before, and I was incredibly pleased with that little surprise. I left feeling like a winner. Artists are so easy to please 🙂

artist goody bag from lgc

London Graphic Centre is a treasure trove of art materials in the heart of London. Here is their website: londongraphics.co.uk

Cluster Contemporary Art Fair

visitors to cluster contemporary looking at my painting Alleged Assault on Pax by Mars

Will people understand my paintings?

I showed three recent paintings at the Cluster Contemporary Art Fair, held in the wonderful Oxo Tower Wharf on London’s South Bank. Thanks to everyone who visited, and sorry if I didn’t have time to speak to all of you.
I was eager to show these paintings together; I wanted to gauge people’s reactions. When you work alone in your studio for months on end, it’s easy to start having nagging doubts: “Will they understand my paintings?” …or most commonly “WTF am I doing?”
I’m not too bothered if people don’t understand these works, as long as they engage with them, and actually take the time to look at them. That’s all I can hope for.

visitors to cluster contemporary looking at the gleaners by peter d'alessandri

“Surreal. The artist is on drugs”

Well, they certainly provoked a strong reaction, and mainly favourable. There were a few disparaging remarks, like “the artist must be on drugs” 🙂 Most of the visitors I spoke to were genuinely interested in the art on show, and I found it one of the most interesting events that I have taken part in.
I took part in this event as I wanted to put my recent work in front of a real audience. Social media is okay for sharing updates, but there really is no substitute for real people looking at the actual paintings.

the gleaners and men wrestling at cluster contemporary

The artist and the model

It was a nice surprise having the model with whom I worked on the painting “The Gleaners” turn up to see the show. I have mentioned in a previous post how I was at an impasse with that particular painting, unable to resolve some difficulties. And then I found Catarina, who was fascinated in the project from the start. There is something special about working with a good life-model, with whom you have an understanding. There is an exchange of ideas, and very quickly I had a solution for my problem painting. What I love about this type of collaboration is that the solution is not something that I could have imagined by myself – it was a product of the exercise of working with a model, working through different poses.

artist and model standing in front of the painting the gleaners
The artist and the model

This was the inaugural Cluster Contemporary Art Fair. There were certainly some teething problems, mainly related to their website and QR codes not working.
The show looked good, was nicely curated, and they attracted a reasonable crowd. Turn out was better than similar events I have attended at the same venue, and the visitors were genuinely interested in art, and weren’t just popping in to keep out of the rain.


Catarina’s website can be found here: moonchild777.com


Tracey Emin exhibits alongside Edvard Munch and Peter D’Alessandri

tracey emin exhibits with Peter D'Alessandri
Kent artist exhibits with Tracey Emin

Two Kent artists exhibit at the Turner Contemporary

So, on the same night as the opening of “Tracey Emin/Edvard Munch, The Loneliness of the Soul” in Oslo, Tracey Emin was also exhibiting a painting at the Turner Contemporary Open, in Margate, alongside my painting “American Dreamer”.

tracey emin's bed next to a painting by edvard munch
Tracey Emin’s bed next to painting by Munch

I must admit to being very pleased with where they placed my painting. I can see why they did it; the splash of red in my work sits nicely next to Ms Emin’s piece. The whole exhibition has been cleverly arranged with similar decisions throughout. It was an aesthetically pleasing experience going from room to room, and I’d strongly recommend a visit.

detail from painting American Dreamer
detail from American Dreamer

An even nicer surprise was when Ms Emin left a nice comment on my Instagram post. It can be a hard slog being an artist. Lonely and largely unrewarding, with prolonged periods of rejection and dejection just briefly interspersed with the briefest glimmers of hope. So it’s nice when someone from the Artistic Aristocracy says something nice to you. Thank you Tracey.

Turner Contemporary Open

seated woman wearing a stars and stripes top
American Dreamer

I’m very pleased to have my portrait American Dreamer accepted for the Turner Contemporary Open exhibition, due to open in Margate this Autumn. I’ve been based in Kent for a couple of years now (if you count a year in lockdown), and I haven’t had the opportunity to show my work locally. And it’s very exciting to be involved in a “real world” show again, hopefully with real people milling about looking at the art.

The drawings and photos from this sitting date back to the long hot summer of 2013 ☀️ I remember the day well. It was so oppressively hot, my model felt quite unwell. There was a power cut just as I set up the studio lights, so I had to quickly relocate the sitting to near the window in my lounge. Maybe because of the unplanned nature of the sitting (they weren’t the poses I’d been planning on), I didn’t really bother looking at the material for a very long time.
I suppose it was the chaotic end to the Trump presidency that made me think again of that sitting years before, with a young model sporting a stars and stripes top. 2013 had been a period of relative calm and optimism:  No cold war, divided nations, Capitol Hill riots, Brexit, Pandemic or Lockdown. Yes, 2013 seems like a different world. I am hoping, after what feels like a much darker and more challenging time, we may be heading towards a calmer, more hopeful future.

American Dreamer, 2021

Art and Death

man on bed

The painting above has been selected for the “Art and Death” exhibition, organised and curated by Huunuu. 
“The gallery shows artwork from 19 different artists who have all interpreted the subject of death, dying, bereavement and legacy.”
As virtual exhibitions go, this works very well.  It has been well curated – There’s a nice selection of good quality artworks, which are all related to the theme. It’s well worth a visit, and can be found at huunuu.com//art-and-death