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I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Guest Blog 1: Aspect Prize Winner Adam Kennedy

Earlier this month, 23-year-old Adam Kennedy won the Aspect Prize, which has been running since 2003 and offered Scottish artists (or artists living in Scotland) a cash prize of £15k for the winner and £5k each for the three runners-up.
I got involved in the prize a few years ago as a judge and subsequently assisted with press and PR. Unfortunately this year is the last year of the prize - one of the biggest art prizes in the UK - but together with co-founder Charles Jamieson, I am working on ways of reinventing it.
I met with Adam and his older brother Paul last week for a coffee. Paul was a finalist last year and since being shortlisted, his career has gone from strength to strength.
I thought it would be an interesting exercise to ask Adam and Paul to write about their respective experiences of being nominated for the Aspect.
Here is Adam's contribution.
I'll post Paul's tomorrow...

At the best of times, most graduates from art school face the difficult decision between going forward with their art practice and finding financial stability by other means. In 2009, I graduated from Edinburgh College of Art into a recession and the latter was almost not even an option. This, however, give me the drive I needed to push forward with my art work.
The first months and, in some cases, years, after leaving an institution can be very difficult for artists to find their feet. It takes time to build ones reputation and in some respects, one doesn’t learn about the true art world until graduating into it.
I was fortunate enough to be offered a studio space shortly after leaving art school and like most I began by entering shows such as the Royal Glasgow Institute and Aberdeen Artists Society Annual exhibitions.
These acted as a platform for me to get my work known, in some cases sold, and the opportunity to network and meet established artists. I was fortunate to be accepted into such exhibitions and opportunities for commissions came from them but this didn’t automatically offer the guarantee of financial stability.
After a year of being between temporary jobs and struggling to keep my art work afloat, I entered the Aspect Prize and was selected as a finalist.
Simply being nominated for the prize brought about many opportunities; I was asked to write an article about my work for an art magazine, The Jackdaw, which generated much exposure, I was offered to take part in exhibitions including The River Runs Through It at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Musem, Glasgow, and it could be argued that it helped with sales. Only a few days after that particular exhibition had opened I had sold all the work I had on show.
While simply having the title of being nominated was a boost to my career, the initial £5000 to help make work for the final allowed me to invest in good quality materials and tools such as a professional camera. Altogether, these have greatly improved not only the development of my work but the quality of my work.
I went onto win the Aspect Prize earlier this month and not only has it improved my confidence and commitment to my work, in the short time since the announcement, I have been given more opportunities by galleries to exhibit, including the opportunity for a solo show and more writing work.
Winning this prize will allow me to go on a long awaited research trip to Arizona, home of the aircraft boneyards, and to apply for an artist residency abroad. More importantly having the prize money means that for the time being I can work towards these without the fear of wondering where my next pay cheque will come from, which for a lot of emerging artists would be a dream come true.
In many respects the Aspect Prize has acted as a life line and established my career as an artist.


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