Fine Art alumnus celebrates drawing success

A BCU alumnus has been selected in the UK’s most important prize for contemporary drawing.

Out of 3,300 entries from 1,673 artists and makers, 101 drawings by 89 creatives were selected for the 2021 exhibition of the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize, including Fine Art alumnus Gavin Bower.

Gavin, who lives and works in Leek, Staffordshire, graduated from BCU in 1994 with a PGCE in Fine Art before teaching Art and Design at Biddulph High School in Stoke-on-Trent. In 2005, he qualified as the first Design and Technology Advanced Skills Teacher in Staffordshire, which allowed him to work across the county, supporting schools and staff in their departments.

Since 2017, Gavin has worked as a professional visual artist and designer at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, where he works, tutors and collaborates with others. It was here that he soon became one of the UK’s most gifted artists, with a series of both group and solo exhibitions under his belt.

The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize has an established reputation as the UK’s most important annual open exhibition of drawing. This diverse exhibition reflects a broad scope of drawing practice, conducted by artists, designers and makers at all stages of their careers, from students to established artists living and working across the UK as well as Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain, the Netherlands and the USA.

Gavin said: “I am still getting over the shock and I have to keep reading the selection panel’s email which congratulates my success!

“However, it’s becoming apparent now that this is a huge moment for me. It’s here, it’s happening now and it’s definitely real. The long hours in my studio sat at the drawing board have been worth it. In fact, I’ve actually waited 35 years to break through.

“To be included in this incredible exhibition, the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2021, with such an array of artistic talent is so exciting. I am immensely proud and grateful to all those people who are involved and support the exhibition, and hope it’s a great success.”

With years of experience behind him, Gavin has plenty of advice to share for current Fine Art students. He said: “Follow your heart and trust your gut. Work hard on your talent, develop a strong cohesive body of work, be organized, and honour your deadlines. You also must endeavour to stay true to your vision and resist letting other people steal your dreams.

“This industry can, at times, get lonely, so surround yourself with supportive people. It is a huge benefit to have a network of people who love you and your work and encourage you at every opportunity. Therefore, develop your social media skills to reach a greater audience and make your presence known. You will find your voice that will speak to others.”

The names of the five winners, chosen by the selection panel to share £27,000 in prizes, will be revealed in an Awards Announcement at Trinity Buoy Wharf in London on 29 September 2021.

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