If you haven’t heard, Bluethumb, is doing phenomenal things in the Australian art community by bridging the gap between collectors, art lovers and interior designers with emerging and established local artists. Working ‘direct from artist’, the marketplace let’s you purchase original works and LE prints from all your favourites. They’ve also established the prestigious Bluethumb Art Prize, an annual award raising the awareness of Australian artists by supporting and celebrating their talent and diversity.
This is Australia’s biggest new art prize… and our own Danijela Krha Purssey, Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief at Beautiful Bizarre Magazine, was among the participating judges. PLUS there’s still time to vote for your People’s Choice from their top 100 semi-finalist and be in the draw to WIN a $500 Bluethumb gift voucher. Read on to find out how! The finalist exhibition and awards ceremony will open on 12th April at Bluethumb HQ (81 Sackville St, Collingwood), and remain open until the 15th.
Opening Night: Thursday, April 12, 2018 | 6pm
– Drinks and cheese boards
– Meet the artists and judges
– Winners announced at 7:30pm
After a huge initial 2,346 entries, over double the entries of last year’s inaugural prize, 30 finalists have been selected from a pool of 100 semi-finalists for Australia’s biggest new art prize.
The finalists were determined by an eclectic industry judging panel of twelve, including leading Indigenous art curator and expert, Glenn Isager-Pilkington, CEO of the Contemporary Arts Precinct, Marcus Westbury, Queer Art Prize curator, Jimmy Twin, and even celebrity personality, Gina Liano. From fine art photography to painterly abstracts, the final list of 30 is a diverse selection of varied mediums and subject matter. The pieces are available for sale throughout the entire process of judging and exhibition.
Included in the selection are some well-known Bluethumb names, such as Erin Nicholls. Judge Danijela Krha Purssey, Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief at Beautiful Bizarre Magazine, says of her work Smoke: “A beautifully executed drawn cityscape, with wonderfully realised treatment of light, shade, and muted colours. Erin has created a moment in time which both tells a story and also draws the viewer to bring their own imagination into the creation of that story.”
The prize has also attracted many new artists to Bluethumb, such as acclaimed emerging artist Ben Howe. “Wayfarer by Ben Howe is a fascinating piece,” says judge Gina Liano, one of her favourite works in this year’s finalists. “At first glance you’re captured by the beauty and the serenity of the image of a man who looks peaceful and complete amongst flowers and butterflies. The contrasting image of the skeleton and the barren garden attached to his back, somewhat in his shadow, gives the sense of a rebirth. This is a fascinating piece of art that tells so many stories. The artist’s attention to detail from the eyelids to the hands shows a stunning talent.”
As an online art gallery open to all Australian artists, one of Bluethumb’s primary aims for their art prize was to remove the barriers that often prevent artists from entering art prizes – namely cost, difficulty and bias. For this reason, Bluethumb are thrilled to note the diversity of finalist artists, and in particular the fact that 60% are women and 13% are Indigenous artists from remote Indigenous art centres. This last statistic is particularly welcome given Bluethumb’s investment into a unique and centralised platform for art centres to sell their work online.
Four category awards will be announced on opening night, each valued at $2,000: Works on Canvas and Board, Works on Paper, Photography and Other Media. The most outstanding of these four artworks will receive an overall prize of $10,000. In addition to these prizes, all finalists are eligible for the People’s Choice Award, for which voting remains open until the 15th of April. Voters who choose five pieces go into the running for a $500 Bluethumb Gift Voucher.
The People’s Choice Award is valued at $2,000, bringing the total prize pool to $20,000, double that of last year’s inaugural prize. Not only does the highly anticipated opening night represent the opportunity to admire incredible Australian artwork, but also for Bluethumb’s team and its growing online artistic community to meet one another in person.
The success of this year’s prize further distinguishes Bluethumb as an excellent online platform for art prizes. By removing physical barriers and costs, more artists are entering prizes than ever. Bluethumb have already partnered with the South Australian Living Artists festival (SALA), the Helpmann Academy and the ANL Mission to Seafarers Maritime Art Prize, helping to bring each art prize to life by hosting online and reaching as many people as possible. The finalist exhibition and awards ceremony will open on 12th April at Bluethumb HQ (81 Sackville St, Collingwood), and remain open until the 15th.
Selection of Finalist (full list below)
Stacey Rees – Olive #3
Amanda Krantz – Sakura
Erin Nicholls – Smoke
Lise Temple – Superb Suburb II
Steve Salo – View to the North
Ben Howe – Wayfarer
Rex Turnbull – Chrysanthemum Boy
Paul McKnight – Albany Trio on Turkish Paisley
Loribelle Spirovski – Diaspora
Kim Hyunji – Luke
Stacey Korfiatis – What Goes Up
Kim Leutwyler – Sally Rugg