Staffs artists scoop industry prizes

"It was always clear to me from the tutors at Staffs that if you want to progress with a career in art then you have to go the extra mile to achieve it. Work harder, develop your practice and never let the fear of doubt beat you to the ground."

Damian Massey, BA (Hons) Fine Art

The work of artists from Staffordshire University is showcased in an exhibition celebrating emerging talent from across the Midlands.

The annual New Art West Midlands exhibition seeks out exciting new work from graduates in the region and includes painting, sculpture, photography, film, video, print and installation.

Over 180 people applied to take part and a panel of established artists and curators selected 31 successful candidates, including four BA (Hons) Fine Art graduates from Staffordshire University - Damian Massey, Jenna Naylor, Lisa Nash and Lindy Brett.

Two of the graduates also won prizes including Damian who has received £250 of art supplies by Cass Art, the principal sponsor of New Art West Midlands, plus he has also been selected by Grasslands to undertake a residency place in spring 2017.

He said: “To win prizes is a bonus, I wasn't expecting to win any! My main goal was only to put on a successful exhibition for the audience. I was overjoyed and grateful.”

Damian hopes that the exhibition will provide him with a vital platform to kickstart his career: “Exhibiting work outside of the university is always the best way to further your career as it expands your audience. It not only allows others to see your creativity but it builds confidence and motivation to exceed and do better as an artist.”

“It was always clear to me from the tutors at Staffs that if you want to progress with a career in art then you have to go the extra mile to achieve it. Work harder, develop your practice and never let the fear of doubt beat you to the ground.”

Coursemate Jenna Naylor also won a prize, receiving a commission by Treeline, an artist-led project delivered through the Herefordshire-based environment organisation New Leaf.

Anna Francis, Fine Art Course Leader, commented: “We are immensely proud of the brilliant success that our graduates are achieving, locally, nationally and regionally.

“Seeing our graduates selected for the exhibition, and then winning the much sought after awards within the competition demonstrates what we know already, that our graduates are talented, prepared and experienced artists who are given the right support and training to really make a success of their future artistic careers.”

The exhibition can be seen across venues at mac Birmingham, Waterhall Gallery, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Wolverhampton Art Gallery until 14 May 2017 and Worcester City Art Gallery until 3 June 2017.

Find more information here - http://newartwestmidlands.co.uk/

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