So, the series has ended.
The artists came with clear agenda: to have their work exhibited at the Royal College of Art and exposure before a knowlegeable viewing audience; to receive constructive criticism, recognition and advice from a panel of respected experts; possibly to succeed in selling their work at the exhibition; and, as a bonus, to make a brief but potentially valuable appearance on TV.
To get their work exhibited artists had to gain ‘Yes’ votes from two of the three judges. Of the hundreds who applied, only thirty-five were successful. It is a measure of the subjective nature of judging that only on eleven occasions was the decision unanimous.
Selling work was equally difficult. There were only eleven successful sales at the exhibition, although several of the artists believed they had made important contacts.
The highest price paid, £3100, was for Katy Sullivan’s ‘In Another World’ – a portrait of her daughter. The judges heaped praise on this exquisite work, especially since this was only the fifth painting by the artist who had given up a medical career to pursue her passion for art. Had there have been such an award they would undoubtedly have made it ‘Best in Show’. As they so irritatingly repeated, it ‘ticked all the boxes’.
The aim of the series was to provide a platform, a launch pad, for the further development of artists’ careers regardless of their prior experience. This competition is the beginning of the journey not the end, and the logical next step on our behalf, the viewers, is a sequel – a ‘what happened next’.