Bluethumb Art Prize Winners: Where Are They Now?

Now established as the biggest art prize in Australia, the Bluethumb Art Prize continues to be the art prize for all artists. Entry remains free, meaning any Bluethumb artist can go in the running to win a share of this year’s $100,000 prize pool. Enter today and continue reading to discover where our past art prize winners are now.

Bluethumb Art Prize 2022 Overall Winner: Lauren Starr

The Overall Bluethumb Art Prize 2022 winner, Lauren Starr, took home a whopping $150,000 in celebration of Bluethumb’s 10 Years of Supporting Australian Artists. “Winning the overall prize was literally life-changing. I’d always said that when I paid off the mortgage, I’d take time to focus full-time on my art career. Winning the Bluethumb prize brought my future dreams forward by years,” said Lauren.

Midas' Daughter II by Lauren Starr.

Overall Award-winning artwork, Midas’ Daughter II – Golden Still Life by Lauren Starr.

The Bendigo schoolteacher also won the Photography Category Award in 2022. Lauren’s intricate and meaningful photographs have topped the category for the two years, with Memento Mori – Colour Flower Feast winning the year prior

Winner Lauren Starr accepting her award from judge Tamara Dean.

Winner Lauren Starr accepts her award from renowned photographer and 2022 Bluethumb Art Prize judge Tamara Dean. 

Since winning the Overal prize last year, Lauren said she’s been able to focus on refining her skills, having the time to go to galleries and workshops and creating a new body of work. “It’s given me the confidence and time to take myself more seriously and has granted me a wider audience to share my art with.”

Bluethumb Art Prize 2022 Landscape Category Award Winner: Donovan Christie

Donovan Christie won the Landscape Category award in 2022 with his artwork Milk & Paper, which depicts a classic Aussie milk bar. This piece is part of Donovan’s ‘The Milk Bars Are On Me’ series, in which still life and urban landscapes highlight a nostalgia for times gone by.

Milk & Paper by Donovan Christie.

Landscape Category award-winning artwork Milk & Paper by Donovan Christie.

Our esteemed judge, two-time winner and three-time finalist of the Archibald Prize, Del Kathryn Barton, said she was “…struck by how clean, honest and technically proficient this nostalgic glimpse of everyday life is.” Donovan said it was an honour to receive this award. “I’ve been a part of the Bluethumb family for close to 10 years. Watching them build and level up has been an amazing thing to witness. They truly put the artists first and go above and beyond.”

The man behind the milk bars.

Donovan Christie enjoyed a successful The Milk Bars Are On Me solo exhibition, which saw almost all the original paintings sold. Today the Collectable Artist continues the dialogue around fading shopfronts and has recently released limited-edition prints exclusive to Bluethumb.

Bluethumb Art Prize 2021 Overall Winner: Loribelle Spirovski

Inspired by Arvo Pärt’s ‘Spiegel im Spiegel’, Loribelle Spirovski’s winning portrait, Mirror into Mirror, studies the jewel-like qualities of human skin. The subject of the oil painting is Loribelle’s husband, Simon. With Simon being the only interaction Loribelle had during one of Melbourne’s notorious lockdowns, the winning portrait is thus a reflection of her isolation. 

Winning art work by Loribelle. Mirror into Mirror.

Overall Award-winning portrait, Mirror Into Mirror by Loribelle Spirovski.

Since winning the Overall Bluethumb Art Prize in 2021, Collectable Artist Loribelle Spirovski has collaborated with jazz musician George Washingmachine and classical pianist and writer Simon Tedeschi on album and book cover art.

Bluethumb Art Prize 2021 Overall Winner Loribelle Spirovski.

In March 2022, Loribelle’s work was featured in ‘The Divine,’ an all-female group exhibition at HOFA Gallery. The exhibition featuring twelve female artists from twelve countries, highlighted the lack of female representation within contemporary gallery settings.

Bluethumb Art Prize 2021 Founders Award Winner: Brad Holland

Having won the Founders Award in 2021 for the best large statement artwork, Brad Holland is the epitome of what this award represents. His portfolio of abstract work results from a diligent and inspirational attitude that has developed in the face of life’s hardships.

Brad Holand’s pieces, Ovoid, Newtown, and Fabertron in Bluethumb Art Prize 2021 Winners Exhibition at 1 Denison, North Sydney.

Originally a skilful figurative painter, Brad began to lack the control to create subtle brushstrokes due to a degenerative condition known as essential tremor. “My hands would shake uncontrollably, making any activity involving fine motor skills very difficult. So I started to experiment with other techniques to get control back.” After being made redundant at the onset of Covid, Brad devoted his newfound free time to exploring abstraction and utilising masking tape to get crisp lines and shapes.

Buzz, which has since sold, was the Founders Award-winning artwork.

“Winning the Founders Award created amazing new opportunities, allowing me to leave my retail job to pursue abstract painting as a full-time career,” said Brad. Fast forward two years, and his signature abstracts are a favourite amongst our collectors. Earlier this year, this Rising Star’s work was exhibited in Introspection, a group show by Guildhouse in partnership with the City of Adelaide.

Bluethumb Art Prize 2020 Still Life Category Award Winner: Jane Reynolds

Through her process, Jane Reynolds undertakes an in-depth, often meditative, study of her subject. She is drawn to everyday objects and materials that may be glanced over in their usual setting. Jane’s usual subject matter includes discarded and unwanted items; capturing collected subjects in a new space gives them new value and a stage to continue living on.

Jane Reynolds’s Still Life Category award-winning piece, Arrangement 24.

Focussing specifically on Still Life and working in oils, Jane’s work investigates the formal aspects of geometry, colour and light, working predominantly with hard surfaces and rudimentary objects. Eagle-eyed collectors are quick to snap up Jane’s highly collectable artwork.

Arrangement Series by Bluethumb Art Prize 2020 Still Life Category Award winner Jane Reynolds.

“Still Life inspires me daily, and Bluethumb has played such a big part in allowing me to share my work with the world,” said Jane. Since her win, she’s exhibited in multiple group shows, undertaken her largest pencil drawing, and is currently working towards an exhibition in October.

Bluethumb Art Prize 2018 Overall Winner: Kim Hyunji

A former Melbournian, Kim Hyunji has not let a change in location slow her down. Returning to South Korea during COVID, she has been working hard on many new works and exhibitions. Kim’s work examines themes of self-exposure, self-censorship, narcissism, voyeurism and surveillance, including how social media shapes how we present ourselves and, in turn, art’s role in social media.

Bluethumb Art Prize

Magic Moments: Kim Hyunji is surprised when she’s announced 2018’s overall winner.

Last year, her emotive portraits on glass were suspended from the ceiling as part of a group exhibition in Seoul, showcasing works from 3 generations of her family. She also collaborated with Adidas and continues to exhibit at various galleries across the globe.

Limited edition prints of the Overall Award-winning painting Painless (Luke) by Kim Hyunji are available.

The wait is finally over. Australia’s biggest art prize is now open. Enter FREE to win a share of the $100,000 prize. Discover art by Past Bluethumb Art Prize Winners in this week’s curation. 

Lauren Starr: From Prize Podium To Judging Panel

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