The 2017 selection for the Jerwood Drawing Prize seemed to focus around a collection of work that was subject to the use of abstract shape and composition. The selection of work was gathered from a selected 65 artists who submitted to the drawing prize.

Overall I was slightly afflicted by the chosen work – meaning that some I believed to be slightly flat and didn’t demonstrate the amount of skill I expected to be presented in a competition like this one. On the other hand, some work I found to be quite profound and resonated with me and my practise. My preferred work proved to be images that combined the efforts of photography, collage, illustration and subject narrative which I felt was successful in creating an overall piece with existential meaning.

One of the chosen works that proved to resonate most to myself was the photographic tryptic by Jeremy Hutchison.

The prints that were reproduced onto the premium quality hahnemuhle paper, sang  as the soft colour palette contrasted from the vast selection of monotone work that was also hanging in the gallery. Titled, ‘Harmattan (Skoda)/(Nissan)/(Ford)’ the images illustrated the profound effects of a long winter.

“From November to March it blows particles of the Sahara Desert across West Africa, covering cities such as Dakar in a film of dust. The term ‘trade winds’ was originally developed by the Portuguese in the fourteenth century. They recognized the importance of these winds for the navigation of slave ships from Africa to Europe.”

The images really proved to touch on my interest towards photographic storytelling. As it states in the bio on Hutchison’s website, as an artist he inspires his work around “situational performance”. Because of this, I believe I admire his work from his collaborative and experimental approach towards fine art photography. Instead of reaching out towards cliché fashion editorial and subjects set around youth culture, Hutchison seems to base his work around working class culture and corporate corruption through object devaluation. This type of photography and vision encourages me to really observe the subliminal messaging in the images and come to my own creative conclusion which excites me.

Evaluating the exhibition as an entire collective I enjoyed the different variations of illustration and print collage as these are also two mediums I enjoy working with.

Some compositions communicating more than others… this was a selection of work I either resonated with or enjoyed ‘technically’. The more abstract work helped me question the use and purpose of negative and positive space in my own work, and the more detailed illustrations/prints demonstrated success while deliberating with innovative concepts and ideas.

In my own experience, art that interests me often collaborates between these two artistic ideals – abstraction and original imagery/ narrative. Two artists in which I can give example to these two things are David Choe and Nick Gentry.

From some time ago I’ve been following the work of American street artist/painter David Choe. Choe’s artwork articulates the ‘fuck it’ attitude that helps people to push the boundaries beyond ordinary. His work always inspires me to test my limits and not be too safe or precious with my work. Huge gestures and experimental mark making in his compositions captivated my interest from the very beginning, and the subject narrative of his work again proves to be innovative and exciting due to his non chalant attitude towards (censored) mainstream imagery on sex and violence.

Because of this, his drawing demonstrates a certain recklessness that a lot of art doesn’t do that is carefully thought out and considered. By embracing this idea of loving your mistakes and making a mess of things, the imagery Choe creates has become worldwide famous and celebrated all over the world as he cleverly tarnishes his work to fill the void in our generation that honours imperfection and unorthodox beauty. I highly recommend the biopic ‘Dirty Hands’ which documents his work process and creative strategy (if he has any).

My second source to reference, Nick Gentry, is a recent artist I’ve bypassed credit to his mixed media approach towards making new visual media. Joining together found object and his own ‘architectural’ type composition, he creates exciting images that are emphasised by the objects he uses to create them.

Again, allowing work to be challenged by something that in some way removes an element of control, really relates to the way I like to work. This medium I believe allows creative maturity to thrive, and by acknowledging artists such as Choe and Gentry helps me to experiment more with my projects and creative endeavours as I try to come up with new ways to ‘fuck up’ / break my printer.