Art student wins international prize

01 July 2011

A Unitec student has blitzed global competition to take out the grand prize in an international art award.

Emerging artist Rosanne Croucher has won the Cliftons Art Prize, valued at AUS$10,000, beating more than 450 international entries from artists located across Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The painter says her entry – a Japanese-inspired piece titled “Inflection” – was finished and ready to go when she spotted an advertisement on a website, just a few days before the competition closed.

“It was free to enter, so there was nothing to lose, really. Also, there were no size or theme conditions, which meant I was able to enter my massive 2m x 1.5m painting.

The artist says she was “mentally prepared” to either win the Auckland finals or not, which would mean to gain $2000 or not: “But then they announced I was the international grand prize winner and gave me a big fake cheque for $10,000! It felt really overwhelming.”

The competition is sponsored by conference centre and event facilities provider, Clifton’s. Entrants were invited from across 10 cities in Australasia, and winners from each city were awarded AUS $2,000 (NZ $2,500).

The winning work reflects the themes that were on the artist’s mind at the time of painting. The use of patterns and shapes of leaves against the sky invoke a sense of nostalgia and dreams.

“This artwork is about what is temporary, fleeting and what is lasting. It could represent an approach to life or memory where we need to hold on to some things and let go of others.”

The Western Springs resident, who is currently completing her final year in a Bachelor of Design and Visual Arts, says she is still experimenting with different styles, but she has a definite affinity with Eastern techniques.

“I have tried out a slightly different style each semester at Uni, so far. I love trees and leaves though, and this seems to be the one constant in what I paint. I love to use an Eastern treatment of space where a horizon line or fixed ground has been removed, which gives the effect of forms drifting, falling or in suspense. I also enjoy exploring the relationships between realism and abstraction, and using colours that are somewhat unnatural.

“From studying at Unitec, I think I’ve learned how to see better. How to look at a work of art and be able to isolate and pick apart its details – line, form, tone, colour, composition, as well as seeing how it works as a whole. This allows me to reflect and analyse my own works better, so that I’m always trying to improve on what I’ve done before.”

Croucher hopes to one day make a living from her artwork, “probably as most creative people would”. She is also interested in writing and teaching, and as a practising Christian, she is interested in the spiritual realm, and fascinated in art as therapy.

“I’m really interested in counselling and how art can be used in order to bring about emotional and spiritual healing in someone’s life. I’m still young, so there’s lots I can dream about.”


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