In December, we launched a competition with Van Gogh Alive for people to send in their own artistic creations inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s work. Encouraging everyone to get creative, we wanted to see all kinds of art from crochet and crafts to painting and digital art.
We were blown away by the incredible variety of entries sent in and the huge artistic talent we have in the West Midlands! Art critic Ruth Millington judged all the entries and despite it being such a tough competition, she’s chosen some very special winners.
Ruth said: “It was an absolute privilege and honour to judge this creative competition in partnership with the Hippodrome and their stunning Van Gogh Alive experience.
“I have been blown away by the range, originality and quality of the artworks submitted, and the many moving ways that entrants have been inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s post-impressionist paintings.
“Van Gogh’s work demonstrates that art has the power to uplift us, especially during difficult times. He was an artist who turned to painting during periods of personal crisis, using it as a way to express his innermost feelings and cast his unique vision of the world onto canvas.
“Similarly, many of the artworks submitted to this competition, and created during a national lockdown, can be read as a message of hope; creativity has flourished in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying statements demonstrate the escapism that art has provided people with.
“Choosing winners from such strong entries was an incredibly difficult task. Those artists selected demonstrated an originality of concept and composition, while paying tribute to Van Gogh, and used their chosen media to full and powerful effect.”
Adult’s winner – Bright Avornyoh
Ruth’s comments: With a blizzard of beautifully expressive marks and a distinctive palette, Bright Avornyoh has created a highly accomplished painting. This unique work is a witty reimagining of ‘The Starry Night’, which van Gogh painted from inside his asylum room; and here we have a comparable vision from the perspective of a contemporary lockdown interior looking out upon an expressive night sky.
Adult’s runner up – Liam Churchard
Ruth’s comments: With this playful painting Liam Churchyard takes us from Arles to Birmingham. Against a brilliant swirling background, he has rendered the bull in strong, statuesque terms. An evocative contemporary Brummie take on van Gogh’s post-impressionism.
Children’s winner – Jessie (aged 5)
Ruth’s comments: Jessie, aged 5, has expanded the view of Vincent van Gogh’s bedroom while specifying objects, from paintings hanging on the walls to the artist’s chair, with charming detail. There is a daring use of perspective in the interior space, an expressive use of colour and gestural mark-making. It’s a room the viewer wants to explore.
Children’s runner up – Sai Rajput
Ruth’s comments: There is an incredible variety of tone across the two colours which Sai Rajput has blended beautifully in this cleverly cropped and deceptively simple pastel composition. Like van Gogh’s ‘Irises’, this work is a study of shape and movement – the thoughtful rendering of overlapping leaves is filled with energy.
Special mentions – Solihull Prep
Flora and Martha
Chicks with Knives
Ruth’s comments: Special mention must also be given to Solihull prep school for their beautiful, hopeful sunflowers painted expressively in shades of yellow.
And for originality, I must mention Chris Morton’s LEGO recreations of van Gogh’s masterpieces, the edible sunflower traybake from Flora and Martha, and Chicks with Knives’ food photography inspired by The Potato Eaters.
A huge thank you to everyone who entered and congratulations to the deserving winners!