Judging at Malvern St James

Karen Stone, Di Weissberg (Head of Art), Headmistress Olivera Raraty and winner Kirsty Thomson

This exhibition brought together artwork from 13 different schools, aged from reception to year 8 and I was given the privileged but difficult task of judging it.

It was brilliant to see so much fabulous work illustrating that the love of creativity and the commitment of our art teachers. It was also a privilege to meet so many wonderful young people. parents and teachers.

Obviously not everyone could be awarded a prize and what I thought would be a relatively straight forward task turned out to be more complex. Each work demanded, and deserved, a thorough inspection and the subject matter ranged from explosions of mark making to complex conceptual ideas that challenged our thoughts on the environment, space and beyond.

When I was at school there was a girl in my year who took the art prizes. I always entered and sometimes achieved a highly commended but never took the main award. My school friend took the prizes and had her work hung in the school hall at regular intervals. Annoyingly she was good and even more annoyingly, I knew she was good!

Then, as now, I never take seeing brilliance in others as being a criticism of my own work. I simply  use it as an acknowledgement that there is still work to do and further ways to develop my practice. Winning an award (and I have won some) is the most fabulous feeling but it is subjective to the aesthetics of who so-ever is judging. The importance of believing in your own art, keeping on the path to improvement and not giving up when times get tough ultimately makes you a better artist.