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Lottie Davies wins Young Masters 2012

20 November 2012

Lottie Davies has been announced as winner of this year’s Young Masters Art Prize, a not-for-profit biennial competition open to UK-based and international artists who combine skill and innovation with awareness of the Old Masters and art of the past. 

The shortlist of 26, five of whom are photographers, is drawn from 422 artists, working across all disciplines, who submitted work. Prizes were announced last night, 20 November at London’s Gallery 27. Lottie’s winning image from her Memories and Nightmares series is Lou’s Story.

"Lou's Story began with an account of a nightmare sent to me by an old friend, it is very detailed and you can read it on my website if you click on ‘caption’ underneath the image. Of all the nightmare stories I've collected, this was the most classically terrifying, and for some reason it put me in mind of the fabulous, huge painting in the National Gallery by Paul Delaroche, The Execution of Lady Jane Grey. 

"I have always been intrigued by this painting – it’s such a sad story, and having red hair myself, ever since I was a child I would imagine myself in the position of the young girl about to be beheaded. So the combination of the story and the painting suggested an opportunity for me to allow Lady Jane to protest her ill-treatment, and to embody Lou, my friend, in her nightmare at the same time. The shoot itself was quite a production – I often hire costumes, but for this shoot I made the dress myself as I wanted it to match the painting as closely as possible. I had some trouble getting straw for the floor which still had cornheads on, but eventually found a thatcher in Somerset who sent me a bunch in a bin-liner. I was very lucky in finding the right girl for the part, but Ashleigh’s hair was short, so we dyed hair pieces at the same time so Conrad (hair stylist) could make the hair match. Generally the shoot involved masses of preparation and a huge amount of body-painting, it was a crazy day.

"It's wonderful to be shortlisted, particularly so for my work at the moment, as I am hoping to expand my artistic practice in new directions – I still consider myself 'a photographer' and I think I always will, but it's very exciting to be considered for this award alongside artists working in other media. I feel there is still an element of 'but is it art?' in photography in the UK, whereas in the US, for example, photography has always sat beside painting, sculpture, film and so on. I am hopeful that London is coming to believe the same thing, and the eclectic mix of techniques, approaches and presentation in the curation of the Young Masters exhibition is certainly a demonstration of that. I have always had huge admiration for painters, sculptors and their remarkable talents, so I am especially pleased to be showing my work alongside people like Debbie Han, Jane Hoodless, Christoph Steinmeyer and the other shortlisted artists." 

Exhibition dates: Gallery 27Cork Street, London W1S 3NG to Saturday 24 November 2012 11am-7pm

See more of Lottie's work:

Young Masters 2012: a not-for-profit initiative presented by The Cynthia Corbett Gallery

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