An artwork using Artificial Intelligence routines to explore themes of culture and identity has won the 2019 Graduate Art Prize for Camberwell College of Art graduate Betty Leung.
Seen above, Interpreter IV by Betty Leung, an MA Fine Art graduate of Camberwell College of Art, received the most public votes ahead of twenty-one other shortlisted nominations for this year’s prize, founded by art consultancy ARTIQ to find the nation’s most exciting graduate artists.
Leung was named this year’s winner at a private viewing event, hosted at Graduate Art Prize sponsor Herbert Smith Freehills’ London HQ, which saw all 26 shortlisted entries exhibited. Over 200 attendees, including corporate collectors, art patrons, journalists and buyers, were in attendance, with the majority of pieces sold on the night.
A twisting, contorted representation of Leung’s identity, Interpreter IV comprises of images generated using a ‘style-transfer’ AI powered tool which take two existing images and combines them to generate a third which is printed onto fabric.
Through the piece, Leung – a Chinese-born émigré who emigrated to first Australia and then Britain – seeks to highlight the interconnected themes of human behaviour, personality traits, culture and the story of the self.
Alice Kelly, a BA Textile Design graduate of Chelsea College of Arts, secured the runner up place with The Dorothy Rug – a luminous, textured yarn rug inspired by her grandmother and constructed with a tufting gun.
As the winner, Leung has signed with ARTIQ and received a £2,000 cash prize courtesy of sponsor Herbert Smith Freehills, a £500 art materials voucher courtesy of art materials supplier GreatArt and 10 hours of mentorship from ARTIQ experts. By signing with ARTIQ, Leung’s work will be represented to ARTIQ’s client-base of international corporates, hotels and residential projects. As runner up, Kelly has been awarded a £500 art materials voucher as well as the opportunity to also sign with the consultancy.
Established in 2013, The Graduate Art Prize – which is designed to offer much-needed support for artists at the beginning of their careers – is open to all final year students on BA and MA degree courses at British art colleges or universities. The twenty-six shortlisted pieces were considered by a panel of judges from ARTIQ and sponsor Herbert Smith Freehills.
Betty Leung, winner of the 2019 Graduate Art Prize, said: “This was completely unexpected, and I am shocked and delighted to win this year’s graduate art prize. It wasn’t very long ago that I was sitting in an office not too far from here, so I am totally overwhelmed.”
Patrick McCrae, founder of ARTIQ, said: “We are delighted to be hosting The Graduate Art Prize again this year as ARTIQ continue to contribute to a sustainable arts economy and the connection of arts and business. It is fantastic to be partnering with Herbert Smith Freehills for the 7th year running and a big congratulations to Betty on her fabulous win.”
John Corrie, partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, said: “It fills me with great pleasure for us to be able to host the Graduate Art Prize at our offices here at Herbert Smith Freehills. Art in the workplace is very positive for mental wellbeing and the working environment more generally. Clients and colleagues alike have commented on how wonderful the work is. Congratulations to the winner Betty and my thanks to all the participants this year.”
Founded in 2009, ARTIQ’s mission is to ensure fair pay for artists and to bridge the divide between the art and business worlds. Through intelligent art curation, ARTIQ enables businesses to utilise the power of art to improve wellbeing, communicate brand and enhance guest experience, working with a portfolio of workplace, hospitality and residential clients from across the EMEA region to bring outstanding art to outstanding spaces. ARTIQ is engaged in a variety of public initiatives from public art installations to charity art auctions and the annual Graduate Art Prize.