Sam Bailey was presented with the HIX Award by Tracey Emin at HIX ART
gallery in Shoreditch, London. In addition to the £10,000 first prize, Bailey, who triumphed over 17 other shortlisted artists, was also awarded a solo show at HIX ART in 2018, as well as the opportunity to design a limited-edition silk scarf for luxury bespoke clothing brand Turnbull & Asser, one of the awards sponsors.
Restaurateur and author Mark Hix founded the HIX Award five years ago. The prize was created to support emerging artists that are currently studying or have graduated in the last 2 years from UK art colleges. This year saw over 700 applications for the prize from young artists seeking a platform to showcase their work and to support their first steps in their professional careers.
This years judges include artists Gavin Turk and Charming Baker, Editor-in-Chief of GQ, Dylan Jones, jewellery designer Stephen Webster and curator James Birch.
Bailey is a London-based artist who recently graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins. His winning painting, Smoker 3 (2017), is part of a series depicting images of activists and protesters based on archival photographs from the 1980s. Painted with thin layers of watercolour onto newsprint paper the work evokes a sense of memory and the passing of time, whilst also referencing the act of protest in the pre-digital age. The newsprint also acts as a signifier of the handmade and make-do approach of the 20th century, which many of the activists depicted on its surface deployed during their occupations.
The runner-up prize went to Ella Husbands for Embodied Distortion (2017), an immersive piece aiming to alter the viewers sensory perception, and thus connect them with the artists personal experience of sensory distortion brought about by the early stages of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Husbands received her BA Fine Art from Central Saint Martins in 2017. The People's Choice winner is London-based South Korean artist Doppel Kim for Promiscuity of images; the image is always light years away (2017). Kim is a recent graduate of the Goldsmiths MFA Fine Art course, whose work concentrates on contrasting different characters of painting and digital screen, asking how painting can be understood in relation to other image systems.
This years prize money has been donated by the private bank Coutts & Co. and BaxterStorey, the UK's leading independent hospitality provider.
Says Mark Hix: This has been the greatest year yet for the HIX Award with such a high calibre of work in the group show and among the 700 plus submissions. Many thanks to our main sponsors Coutts private bank and BaxterStorey for their contributions and my new gallery Director Sophie Harriott for doing a sterling job running the award this year.
Baileys piece Smoker 3 is a visually quiet piece that stood out against strong competition. It is confident but subtle and illuminates the gallery with its ethereal glow. Congratulations and huge thanks to all of the young artists that took part this year, they have bright futures ahead!
Mark Humphrey, Executive Director, Private Banker, Sports, Media & Entertainment of Coutts says: Coutts is delighted to be involved with the Award. We may be the oldest UK private bank, but we are contemporary in our thinking and supporting emerging artists as they navigate their way through their careers.
Noel Mahony, CO-CEO of BaxterStorey says: We are proud to be supporting HIX Art in celebrating some fantastic emerging artists. Supporting young talent is at the heart of our business and we recognise the importance of giving opportunity to artists beginning their careers in the competitive and innovative art world.
Past winners of the award include Nicholas Permain, Felix Treadwell, Ally Mcintyre and most recently, Joshua Raz.
The shortlisted artists form part of an exhibition at HIX ART, 32 Rivington Street, London, EC2A 3LX, which can be viewed until 19 November 2017. The exhibition will then be staged at Coutts & Co., 440 Strand, London WC2R 0QS, from 8 January - 2 February 2018.