PDA Young Artists stage exhibition

cmyk Lady%20in%20a%20Fur%20CoatWithin hours of becoming the Peak District Artisans’ 2014 Young Artist of the Year Sam Westwood had sold his first painting. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that because Woman With Luggage at Euston Station was snapped up by a canny collector so promptly the rest of us won’t be able to see it when his work is exhibited at the winners’ show at St John Street Gallery in Ashbourne this month.

However the 19-year-old artist says he has plenty of other work for the exhibition that was part of the generous prize for the finalists of the competition.

“I have been spending the last five or six weeks on new work. It is all very exciting.

“When I entered the competition originally I had no understanding of where it would lead,” said the Durham University undergraduate.

“I learnt a lot from my weekend at the artisans’ fair in Buxton and spoke to a lot of people – members of the public and the other artists. It was interesting to hear what they said about my work.

“I honestly didn’t think anyone would buy my painting as it was of a stranger but I actually had two people who wanted it.

“It has made me realise that it might be possible to be a professional artist. In my head I had not exactly dismissed it but I thought I would never have the opportunity.

“Now this award has changed my perception of it all. It has made me think carefully about what I want to focus on and I am going to paint more pictures of people I don’t know. People seemed to like the story behind what I had done – it seemed to add to the painting in some way.”

Sam, of Accrington, was one of three young artists to be honoured in the annual award held to find the region’s most talented young artists. In second place was Iona Rowland, of Duffield, who featured in artsbeat in May.

We said at the time she was a name you should watch as, although she only graduated from Kingston University with a first class honours degree in fine art last summer, she is already selling work for four figure sums.

The 23-year-old says: “Drawing on the symbiotic relationship between fashion and sex, my practice explores the ‘un-reality’ where excess becomes fashionable and fashion excessive.”

In third place was 18-year-old Jack Halford, of Derby, who has just finished his art and design A Level at Alderwasley School sixth form.

He entered his painting The Sound of the Waterfall, which he says was making sense of and creating some sort of resolution to moments in time when he was walking over the bridge in Matlock.

In the winners’ exhibition his abstract paintings are both inspired by the landscapes and rivers of the Peak District and the energetic playful tunes from Dave Brubeck and Jimi Hendrix as well as the sounds and light of the rivers crashing into rocks.

As well as cash prizes from the main sponsor Mark Courtney, of St John Street Gallery and art materials from Turners Art Supplies of Rowsley the three artists were also promised a month long exhibition of their work in Mark’s Ashbourne gallery.

Mark said: “I was delighted to sponsor this award and am amazed at the talent of the young artists in the region. The exhibition promises to give exposure to the delightful but diverse talents of the three artists, who each have a very individual and distinct approach to their work.”

artsbeat is also proud to have been involved in the sponsorship of the event as promoting promising young artists in the region is one of the magazine’s principal aims.

The preview night for the show is on September 5 and it will run until September 27. If you want to see work by some of the best young artists in the region then don’t miss it.

If you want to enter the Peak District Artisans’ Young Artist of the Year 2015 then go to http://www.peakdistrictartisans.co.uk and watch for the announcements.

Work by Jack Halford
Work by Jack Halford
Work by Iona Rowland
Work by Iona Rowland