bluethumb Art Prize Finalists Announced
For the last two weeks a panel of art industry experts have been making incredibly difficult decisions. The bluethumb Art Prize is a continuation of our mission to connect artists with art lovers and has exceeded all expectations of what is possible in its inaugural year. With 1140 artists submitting exclusive originals, our new art prize on the block is bigger than this year’s Archibald. The only problem with so many fantastic entries is whittling them down, so many heated discussions were had at bluethumb HQ as we ruminated over our Top 100 shortlist. We then handed it over to our 12 judges, who each voted for their top 10. The scores have been collated to democratically give us the Top 30 finalists we reveal today. So democratic in fact we’ve stretched to a top 34 due to several artworks receiving the same scores.
Finalist: Refugees by Agnes Bruck
Unlike other prizes, the bluethumb Art Prize is free to enter, submissions are online, the artists could change their artwork at any time before entries closed and the art is for sale throughout so doesn’t prohibit artists from making money. The winner of the prize will feature in a large marketing campaign and take home the $10,000 cash prize. The eclectic judging panel of 12 includes Penny Griggs, General Manager of SALA (South Australian Living Artists Festival); June Mills, Indigenous music star, visual artist and traditional owner of Larrakia land; and perhaps surprisingly to some Real Housewives of Melbourne star, Gina Liano.
“I’ve had a lifelong love of art which lead me to study and major in visual arts at university,” explains Gina Liano when asked about her credentials. “Whilst law was my preferred profession, being an art curator was my fall back position so I obtained the qualifications necessary. It was also consistent with my love for fashion.”
Finalist: Morgan Bain by Ben Matei
Morgan Bain by Ben Mateine made Liano’s top 10. “The detail in this painting is outstanding. Not only has the artist captured the mood of his subject, the microscopic detail and his play on lighting is fantastic. I love the imperfections on the plaster wall, the fact that his jeans are turned up at the ankle and that he has managed to achieve a photographic finish. I think this artist has a talent that is exceptional and he should receive recognition for his work.”
Finalist: The Pukara Rock Hole by Jimmy Donegan
Judge Penny Griggs has a slightly different take on the top 10. One of her favourites is The Pukara Rock Hole by Jimmy Donegan. “I’m intrigued by this painting and its story. The colour palette and execution make this work stand out.” Donegan is no stranger to accolades having previously won the prestigious Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award in 2010.
Finalist: Sirius Cove Reserve by Kim Leutwyler
Emerging art star and finalist, Kim Leutwyler, sees how artists will win from entering our innovative prize no matter what the judges decide. “bluethumb is comprised of a team that really look after their artists and collectors. They invest in projects to help their artists stretch and grow, and creating an art prize will inevitably attract new talent and showcase emerging artists around Australia. Although there can only be one winner, I’m certain that many artists will benefit monetarily from the Prize by selling pieces to bluethumb’s collector base.”
Finalist: It’s Showtime! by Donovan Christie
We’re overwhelmed and humbled by the positive response from the Australian art community and thank every artist that took the time to create and submit their work. Congratulations to all the finalists! Head over to the bluethumb Art Prize page to see all 34 finalists. The winner will be announced at the opening of the finalists exhibition on 20th January at No Vacancy Gallery in the Melbourne CBD.