Guess what? Somerset artist Shelley Dyer-Gibbins has done something pretty flipping awesome. She's only gone and won the 'Original Print Prize' in the 21st National Open Art competition (NOA). Hell yeah! :D
The competition is described as "a true reflection of the UK and Ireland's top artistic talent" and Shelley's work, 'Cinegirl', was selected for the prestigious prize - out of thousands of entries. To be honest, we're not surprised at all. Her stuff is very cool. It's influenced by popular culture, past and present and is basically "linocuts, but with an edge". So, as we're all for edgy, we caught up with Shelley to find out a little bit more about her work and how it felt to win the NOA gong!
Here are her Four Thoughts... and after that, there's a cracking chance to win one of Shelley's unique handmade prints. She only makes five of each one, so this competition is a little bit special. We can't pull our own name out of our big competition hat can we? ;)
1. Can you tell us a little bit about your art, Shelley, and about what inspires you?
I've always found it difficult to try and find a style for my art to be honest. I experimented for years and it wasn't until I found my dad's old carving tools and started using those, that I started to discover it. I use traditional tools and methods, but instead of producing the usual folksy-styled prints, I've moved towards more contemporary pop art graphic imagery.
2. Who is Cinegirl, what made you decide to enter the NOA competition and how did you feel when you won?
I remember watching old Hollywood matinees on a Saturday afternoon as a child and I was fascinated with some of the female actresses in them. Cinegirl takes me back to that moment as a kid, sitting on the floor in front of the telly, in awe of the glamour, mystery and strength that some of these ladies portrayed - so Cinegirl is based on them. I also wanted to give her a stare that follows and burns through you!
Before entering Cinegirl for the NOA, I'd entered several other shows... at The Atkinson Gallery in Street (who have a magpies print of mine in their private collection) and also Bruton Art Factory. I sort of 'got the bug' and thought why not? On hearing I'd actually won, I then had to explain to my concerned six year old what tears of happiness were! :) It's awesome to have been chosen from over 4,000 entries. A truly amazing experience.
3. If you could collaborate with any other artists who would it be and why?
Banksy probably. I love the rawness and honesty behind his work. He found a unique way to exhibit his work too. Getting seen and getting recognised is incredibly difficult for an emerging artist. Trying to pitch it all just right and to get given a break by galleries is a pretty hard task.
4. Tell us a secret about you or your work that no-one else knows
I don't have a studio - just a kitchen table. I don't have a press - just a spoon. I'm a working mum and create my art when my babies are in bed.
Well, since the competition win, Shelley and Cinegirl has had a lot of interest... so watch out for some exciting news on where the work will be going on its travels very soon.
One awesome thing we can say is that Shelley will be exhibiting her work at The Sheppey, from 27th January, 2018. The 'Cool Cuts in Lino' exhibition will run for 2 months and we can't wait to check it out in the new year. Shelley will also be exhibiting some works in CHAFF (Cheddar Arts Fringe Festival) later in the year.
And as promised, it's not just going to be Shelley winning competitions! If you want to get your hands on a limited edition signed print of Barry (the awesome bull terrier) we've got one to giveaway. Yay!
To be in with a chance of having this cool cut on your wall for Christmas, check out our Instagram and Twitter feeds. All you have to do on Twitter is follow us and retweet the competition post that's pinned to the top of our timeline.
On Instagram, just follow us and comment 'We need Barry in our lives!' on our post of the bull terrier himself! Yep. It's really that easy... and you can enter on both Twitter and Instagram if you like. Your name will then go into our big competition hat twice! Woo hoo... and we'll be announcing the winner in time for Christmas! YEAH!!
We'll be checking back in with Shelley in 2018, to do a little follow-up on her exhibition at The Sheppey. Can't wait! :)
P.S. WE NEED BARRY IN OUR LIVES!! ;)
UPDATE: Barry went to a fantastic home... a home that has Burt the Bull Terrier in it! Here's a little shot of when Barry met Burt! Ahh - we love a happy ending :).