By the time artists are nominated for the Turner Prize they are already fully established in the art world. Represented by galleries and agents, their work registers on the radars of esteemed collectors and curators everywhere. However, for recent art school graduates their situation is far less certain. The Catlin Art Prize attempts to give these new artists a foothold into the art world and offers an insight into the potential art stars of the future.
The prize, now in its fourth year, acts as an annual showcase for graduates one year on from their degree exhibitions. This year, eight artists have been shortlisted for the prize: Alexander Allan, Adam Dix, Alex Virji, Reynir Hutber, Victoria Matkin, Sonny Sanjay Vadgama, David A Smith and Miyo Yoshida. With a group show for the eight at a gallery in London in May, the prize is a great platform to develop new work and have it seen by critics, collectors and the pubic. From this exhibtion an overall wilnner will be chosen by a judging panel and will recieve £3,000.
Art dealer, gallerist and writer Justin Hammond is the curator of the prize. Last year he trawled across the country surveying the graduate BA and MA shows from every art school in the UK to find artists for the shortlist.
"These artists were selected for their potential to influence the shape and dynamic of contemporary art at a most crucial and exciting time," Hammond says. "It was harder than usual to distinguish common trends at the last round of degree shows - undeniably a good thing. A determined reaction against complacency was palpable though, with some serious, less jokey art and adept manipulation of technology."
This year, alongside the prize, the Catlin Guide has been published, offering a primer to 40 emerging artists working in Britain today. The eight artists shortlisted for the Catlin Art Prize were chosen out of this group. The limited edition book introducing work and upcoming exhibtions by the 40 young artists will be available at the the London Art Fair, in Islington,13-17 January.
"I wanted to make the selection process for the Catlin Art Prize more transparent," Hammond explains. "As a gallerist and private dealer, it was also something that I would often be requested to do for collectors - compile a shortlist of promising young artists. Ones to watch."
Here we look at work by the eight artists shortlisted for the Catlin Art Prize and a selection of other new artists included in the Guide. Click on the image above to launch the gallery.
Prize draw: we have five copies of the Catlin Art Guide to give away.
Competition close on 12 February 2010.
The Catlin Art Prize will take place at Village Underground Shoreditch, London from 14-23 May. For more information visit www.artcatlin.com