Painting students awarded prestigious fine art prize

David Gordon Gray's Prize JJ McKeownTwo painting students at Gray’s School of Art have been jointly awarded the David Gordon Memorial Trust Student Drawing Prize. The annual competition, open to second, third and final-year painting and printmaking students, aims to promote and stimulate drawing as a core skill in the creative process within art and design education.

The popular prize, which received over 120 submissions, was jointly won by Painting students David McDiarmid (21) and JJ McKeown (23) who each received a cheque for £250.

Fourth-year student JJ was awarded for his large-scale pencil drawing of animal and human hybrids interspersed with pattern and abstract shapes. Inspired by nature and animals in mythology, JJ incorporates ancient folklore and creates his own myths based on modern sources including science journals and encyclopaedias.

David, currently in his third-year, submitted an atmospheric piece depicting artists at work in the studio.

David Gordon Gray's Prize David McDiarmidHe comments: “JJ and I are delighted and surprised to have jointly won the prize as the standard of drawings on display was very high. It is always very rewarding to receive recognition for your work and it gives me great confidence to continue developing my skills as an artist.

“For me, life drawing is an important practice and allows for a more thorough investigation of materials and techniques which I can then transfer into more specialist interests in the studio.”

The judging panel comprised Ian Parkinson, Joyce Mackie and well-known local artist Eric Auld, all trustees of the David Gordon Memorial Trust.

Keith Grant, Subject Leader in Painting at Gray’s, adds: “The high standard of work on show reflects the quality of Fine Art students at Gray’s.

“Awards such as these not only give students the opportunity to have their work hung in the context of a real exhibition, but also means that they can critically asses their own work and that of their peers – a key attribute in contemporary art practice.”