What the John Moores Painting Prize means to me

Article Featured Image

Narbi's prize winning work: 'Untitled Kerbstone Painting (MJK)'

 "I've been a fan of the John Moores Painting Prize since I first visited in 1999 as part of a university field trip. It was my first exposure to a large group of exciting brand new paintings and I immediately knew where I wanted my work to be. It took another nine years to get into the show and being included had a very tangible effect on my career, bridging the gap from student to practicing artist and resulting effectively from my profile going from national to international. I'm not exaggerating at all when I say that being accepted a second time in 2012 and moreover as a prizewinner, is the highlight of my career so far. The John Moores Painting Prize continues to be the most vital exhibition about Painting in the world, bar none."

2012 prize winner Narbi Price

Rae Hicks with his work, 'Sometimes I forget that you're gone'

"I first saw my work on display at the Walker Art Gallery in the John Moores exhibition in 2012. It was a very big deal for me, especially as I had only just graduated from my BA. I was only just beginning to think that there was a point to me painting, so it very much helped crystallise that growing sense of possibility. This time around (JMPP 2014) it was quite a surprise to find out that I was included. I'd had to put it out of my mind because of all the waiting, so it came out of nowhere a bit! The opening event was just great fun, definitely a highlight of that year. It was good meeting the other artists and sharing in the strangeness of the prize announcement day whilst also trying to be chilled out. Also, we all move in such different circles, so there was an element of slight absurdity about that too!

"There's no doubt that being a prize-winner at the John Moores has had a very positive effect on things for me, although it's not always clear how. I will say though that at the time of being shortlisted, I was very much just starting out, and it gave me a huge boost of confidence and validation which I guess has been something of a foundation for my practice as it continues. I really like telling people about it as well. If I was asked for advice by an artist who has entered the 2016 prize, I'd say; "Just forget about it! There's nothing you can do now! The deed is done. You're in or out. If you're in, it's a great, great thing. If not, it's a total tragedy." There is no more to be said. I am not in this year either. Such is the way of the great wheel."