Three UAL graduates in national art final
by Francesca Volpi and Colin B Robertson
Three UAL alumni have been shortlisted for the prestigious 2010 Catlin Art Prize that recognizes the talents of graduates from all UK art schools.
David Smith (Chelsea), Sonny Sanjay Vadgama (Central Saint Martins) and Adam Dix (Wimbledon) are among the eight shortlisted candidates for the fourth edition of the prize.
The chosen artists will hold a group show from May 14 to 23 at the Village Underground in Shoreditch.
An overall winner will be chosen to receive £3,000.
The prize, sponsored by insurance specialists Catlin Group, is an annual showcase for graduates, one year on from their degree exhibitions.
Adam Dix, MA Painting graduate, came to do his degree late, previously studying graphic design and illustration 17 years ago.
He describes himself as a Londoner, born and bred.
On reaching the final he said: “It’s great to be included in such a strong and diverse group of artists. Winning would be a bonus but this is a great platform for the artist – I’m focusing on producing a great body of work.”
David Smith, MA Fine Art graduate, told ALN: “It is amazing to be a finalist, being shortlisted alone is a privilege as I know that the other finalists in the prize are highly talented.”
“I wasn’t sure what would happen after my MA,” he continued, “despite all the training you receive, you can never really tell how easy it will be to keep making work when you leave college and the practicalities of day-to-day life take hold.”
“The Catlin Prize has given me the encouragement and opportunity to work towards something exciting and to generate a new body of work to exhibit. I have met some really interesting artists and curators because of the prize.”
“The venue for the Catlin prize, the Village Underground, is a great venue to exhibit in so I am really looking forward to May.”
This year, for the first time, The Catlin Guide has been published.
Dubbed “the only guide to emerging art in the UK”, it features an introduction to the 40 most promising graduate artists in the UK, as recommended by curators, collectors and course tutors.
Art dealer and writer, Justin Hammond, curator for the prize, said: “People wanted to know how the artists were being selected. The guide makes that more clear, alongside our website.”
Previous years exhibitions have attracted collecters such as Kay Saatchi and David Roberts.
Hammond commented: “It is a good show for collecters to come down and see the best emerging artists in the UK”.
The guide has proved to be successful in promoting the competition. He added: “A huge amount of artists have been contacted and sold work already.”
Sonny Sanjay Vadgama, BA Fine Art graduate states in the guide: “Technical innovation is important for me in 2010. I am currently experimenting with large-scale graphical projections on city walls and plan to visit Palestine in February to explore the avenue further.”
Last year five out of the six finalists were from UAL.
Sarah Lederman, Chelsea graduate, 2008, won the final.
She told ALN: “The Catlin prize was an amazing experience. Winning the prize has not only increased my confidence in myself but also the interest in my works. Also, the money allowed me to continue to be a full time artist without having to take a second job.”