You can apply for both Landscape AND Portrait Artist of the Year competitions. Deadline for Portrait Artist of the Year 2019: 16th March 2018. Deadline for Landscape Artist of the Year 2018: 11th May 2018.
Hosted by Joan Bakewell and Frank Skinner, both competitions are judged by award-winning artist Tai Shan Schierenberg, independent curator Kathleen Soriano, and art historian Kate Bryan.
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Being one of the three judges on Portrait Artist of the Year is a tremendous honour. Even after 30 years of making exhibitions of finished work by some of our greatest artists, it is still such an awe-inspiring luxury for me to be able to spend time watching such incredibly talented artists creating a work of art over the course of a short day. The atmosphere on set is dynamic and energetic, kind and supportive: a bit like being in a huge artist studio with lots of friends coming around to chat and offer encouragement, albeit some of them being rather famous ... In showcasing the work of these artists we not only aim to make the processes of making art more explicit and accessible but to inspire everyone to take up your brushes or instead, if you're like me, to explore the wonders of art history.
As an artist I do have some sympathy for our contestants and the pressures we put them under; from the four hour time limit, to the interruptions as the judges and presenters ask them a whole array of questions in front of the cameras. On the other hand I am rather envious of the fabulous sitters they get to paint such as Stanley Tucci, Imelda Staunton, Sir Ian McKellen et al, as well as the beautiful locations we find for them on Landscape Artist of the Year. Without fail, winners and runners up alike find the whole experience wonderful, a little intense of course, but overwhelmingly I believe the particular pressures of the day and the experience of working next to other equally talented artists has invigorated their own artistic practice in the long term.
After a few years of being involved in this programme, which I think is a wonderful antidote to the stuffy aspects of the art world, I am still amazed at what the artists can do in one day. It's like watching a highly skilled athlete nail a long distance run, you know that hundreds of hours of solitary hard work and dedication have gone into their victory. On the day these artists get a real opportunity to shine and they really do dazzle us all. I love being in a room full of fellow art addicts and it is such a good feeling to know there is such a big appetite for this kind of unique art programme.
I’d describe the past year as exciting, stressful, exhausting, affirming, and pure fun. The other artists and the crew are all so lovely that it’s a joy to take part in. They were very special days that will live long in the memory, and the impact that the exposure has had on my career has been huge. I wish I could do it all again but I have work to get on with!
Taking part in Landscape Artist of the Year was a truly exhilarating experience. The validation of winning, and having my work endorsed by the judges is, of course, humbling and gratifying. The exposure that my work has had and the opportunities I’ve been given since winning have been invaluable. For me, usually a solitary, private person; embracing that performance element to painting whilst talking about and demonstrating my process has afforded me insights about my art that I would otherwise never have had.
Winning the competition has had an amazing impact on my career as an artist. I’m so busy with painting and I have had a lot of commission work as a result of the programme. I also have my first solo exhibition planned for later this year.
This is not a gimmicky programme. There is no humiliation or personal probing, just a real search for talent. Taking part was such a positive experience. It helps you to see the strengths and weaknesses of your own work. Aside from that, it is a really fun day and you are surrounded by like-minded people. This is a programme that is serious about unearthing talent and it gives you an amazing opportunity to get your work noticed by a wider audience.
Since the show I’ve been presented with amazing opportunities; I’ve exhibited in my first solo show, as well as being commissioned by some of the most prestigious establishments in the U.K. Most importantly, Portrait Artist Of The Year gave me the beauty of time. This has allowed me to concentrate on developing my work, as well as furthering my artistic knowledge. As a result of this, I feel as though I’ve improved significantly as an artist. It’s given me the confidence to focus on what I want to paint, helping me unlock my full potential as an artist.