• Rose-Marie Marshall-Jane

Art Competitions - Finally, a female winner.

I have to say, I’m super pleased that Jackson’s Painting Prize finally has a female winner.

Jackson’s Painting Competition was my favourite competition, not necessarily to enter but because it seemed to be the most inclusive of artists from all backgrounds. It didn’t matter whether you were educated in art or if you just dabbled on your weekends off. It was an affordable competition to enter at only £5 an entry and displayed a wide range of art. Some other competitions like the BP Portrait Award is £40 to enter and the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition is £35. You either have to be really, really sure your work will get though or just take a leap of faith. So, Jackson’s is quite a nice little competition that everyone can enter.

During my research into female artists and the lack of representation in galleries I decided to include competitions. Naturally, as Jackson’s is my favourite, I chose them as my first point of call.

2016 – Max Naylor

2017 – Mark Roscoe (Actually love his work, it’s gorgeous)

2018 – Tom Down

2019 – Iain Nicholls

2020 – Ruth Murray

Each one I’m sure is a worthy winner and I’m sure the judges judged correctly for the art and not the background of the artists et cetera…

I’m going to say it again because I don’t want to give the wrong impression: in my eyes, art should be based on skill, talent and concept. Not gender, identities or ethnicities. But it still feels harder for women to be recognised as professional artists in their own right.

Still, it does lie a little uneasy with me. It almost makes me think, why bother?

Why bother wasting money on a competition if my entry will be judged on my identity and background rather than the art I submit? What would happen if all art entries in competitions were submitted anonymously? I’m not sure whether I will enter the Jackson’s Art Prize again, it feels like my chances of getting through to any stage are quite slim as I don’t fit the criteria. I don’t have a higher education in art, I haven’t had solo exhibitions nor been in group exhibitions and I’m female. I know I said that I think Jackson’s was the most inclusive, a little bit of doubt has crept in about if this is true.

I didn’t fancy counting up all the artists in the previous years of the competition and averaging it out but when you scroll through the shortlists and longlists there is not a shortage of talented female artists that could very easily of won.

There are other competitions out there that are specifically for women like the Society of Women Artists and Women In Art Fair (the submissions for their competition ends of the 25th of June!). However, I still wonder why women have to have a separate competition in order to win.

It would be wrong to pick a winner based on their gender, correct? But it is also wrong that women are not recognised enough in the art world.

Below you will find the social media accounts or websites of few female artists from the longlists and shortlists of the Jackson’s Painting Prize from 2016-2019 that I particularly like. Find all previous exhibitions here and if you fancy doing a little research yourself check out the MoMa.co.uk website which is full of art competitions worldwide.

2016 -

Alison Tubritt

Laura Rosser - Laura Rosser Website

2017 –

Gisela Banzer Gisela went on to win the Animal Category in 2019

Teri Ann ScobleMrs Damon and Mrs Healey

2018 –

Madison Vander Ark

Charlotte Brisland

2019 –

Fiona Long – Hey Sucker

Wendy Kimberley – Waiting For May

However, the fact that these wonderful women have got somewhere in their art career and are recognised professionally does give me hope. If they can do it, why can't we?