Out of Hand a winning entry for national contest

If you’re brave enough, particularly when you’re starting out as an unknown artist in a hugely competitive field, you might want to brave the savage world of international art contests, because it’s a quick way to get noticed.

Rightly or wrongly, this was something I chose to do. It can be bruising, and it would be naïve for anyone in this position to expect that everyone is going to like your work, and in my case, I’ve certainly received my share of trolls – happily this hasn’t been the majority of people who’ve seen and judged my work.

Out of Hand painting of hands like trees on a martian landscape

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The upside though is that sometimes you get gallery features and more rarely you get placed as a finalist or even win a few! 

One such case was Artfinder, who ran a competition called ‘Portraits from the Precipice’ on behalf of Octopus Energy. If you’ve had a wander around my website, you’ll know that I often paint about ‘issues’ that we all face, rather than deliberately painting nothing but pleasing wall-art. It’s therefore been a pleasant surprise to see many of these more provocative artworks find homes on people’s walls, despite their rather pointed messages. I entered ‘Out of Hand’ as one such stark image and expected nothing.  

I was selected as a winner – one of just 87 chosen out of literally thousands of national submissions, and when it was announced I actually saw it pop up on a Reuters news feed, which was entirely unexpected.  

The prize was simply to see on the website linked to above the following message, but its implications were huge – ‘This art is about to be displayed on billboards throughout the UK to tackle climate change with renewable energy company, Octopus Energy. We’ll donate our commission on all sales from this collection to charity, Renewable World.’ 

Scroll down the first page of winners and you’ll see this painting! It was a real ‘pinch myself’ moment.

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