The art of getting your first top show

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The Independent Culture

How is one plucked from obscurity to stage a solo art show at a top London gallery? Ten selectors including Chantal Joffe and Julian Opie have each chosen an up-and-coming or neglected artist to stage an exhibition for one day at Flowers in Cork Street. The artist will have the whole upstairs space of the gallery at their disposal, with technicians to help.

For some of the nominated artists, such as the printmaker An Gee Chan, whose allegorical works are made in garish colours, it is a big deal. She is just completing an MA at the Royal College of Art and has the artist-selector Adam Dant, who was in turn selected as an Artist of the Day by Cornelia Parker in 1996, to thank.

John Connolly – chosen by his friend, photographer Liz Rideal – has been painting ordinary objects and hidden relics found in his west Sussex allotment all his life. But he has never shown his work. "I have always been a secret artist," he says, "and have never exhibited anything, anywhere, or even sold a piece of work, which has been a quite deliberate policy on my part. I've been producing work for over 40 years." Rideal explains: "I met John about 25 years ago when I was working on a photo-booth piece about identity at the National Portrait Gallery. He instantly understood what I was doing and we became friends. It was about five years later that he revealed that he was making art too... I was invited to his studio and from then on I have seen the work progress."

Opie is keeping it in the family by choosing his sister Mary Jane Opie, who uses Photoshop to manipulate paintings by Old Masters, combining them with an interest in the relationship between humans and animals.

Joffe has picked Katherine Tulloh, whose vivid watercolours form a hieroglyphic code of images. The former Turner Prize nominee sculptor Alison Wilding has selected sculptor Rebecca Griffiths. Her series called Service Objects enlarges the design details of plastic packaging, such as shampoo bottles, rendering them in a uniform sheet material. And Anthony Caro's painter wife, Sheila Girling, has chosen sculptor Jaana Fowler, whose work focuses on the still-life genre.

Selectors since 1983 have included Paula Rego, Bridget Riley, Gilbert and George, Helen Chadwick, and Anish Kapoor. Former Artists of the Day include Dexter Dalwood, nominated for the 2010 Turner.

'Artist of the Day' at Flowers, London W1 (020-7439 7766) 27 June to 9 July