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A day in the life: John Moores Painting Prize

18 October 2013 by Lisa

Artist's studio

Chantal Joffe’s studio

Call For Entries for the prestigious John Moores Painting Prize closes on 25 October 2013 and Project Manager Angela Samata has been meeting with some of the jury.  It will be this group of artists/artistic directors who will make the final decision about who will win the £25,000 prize.

Here’s Angela to give us a behind the scenes peak at her busy day in London with Director of Art Galleries Sandra Penketh… 

7.48am – Lime Street station:

We caught an early train to London as it was becoming pretty obvious that it was going to be a jam-packed day meeting with the John Moores 2014 judges for the first time. The guy behind me in the queue for a cuppa could obviously sense my need for caffeine because he offered to pay for my drink when the card machine went down. A random act of kindness has got to be a good sign at the start of a day like this!

11am – meeting Lynette Yiadom-Boakye:

We met our first challenge of the day when we arrived at Shoreditch House to meet Lynette, who was using the 5th floor café to finish a piece of writing. It’s been a busy year so far for Lynette. She was awarded the Future Generation Art Prize, nominated for the Turner Prize and is just back from a whirl-wind trip to the Venice Biennale.

Woman sitting in a chair

JM2014 judge, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

We talked through the judging process and focused for a while on the fact that we ask our judges to look at the paintings without knowing who the artists are. I explained that this gives judges the freedom to really look at just the paintings on level playing field for emerging and established artists.

1.30pm – meeting Chantal Joffe:

After all these years you’d have thought that I’d have become used to walking into an artists studio, but even now it still

feels like an incredible privilege and I still get nervous as I approach the door to the artist’s inner sanctum. Today was no exception to that!  But I had a biscuit and a cuppa in my hand as quick as a flash and the nerves disappeared as I became distracted by the enormous, vibrant canvases that leant against every wall. Chantal again had questions about the judging process. As she looked through the John Moores 2012 catalogue, she reminisced about the year that her art tutor won and how wonderful it felt to have him win such a fantastic art prize. She remembered being huddled round the catalogue, starring at his painting, feeling proud and bathed in his reflected glory as his student. Her tutor was Peter Doig.

4pm – meeting Tom Benson:

The Keepers House at the Royal Academy opened its doors for the first time earlier this week and meeting juror Tom Benson seemed like the perfect excuse to try it out. It didn’t disappoint! The coffee cake was amazing…the kind of cake you dream about. Tom, as with the other jurors, was eager to know more about how the judging process works and again focused on the fact that the prize is judged anonymously. He really liked that and thought that it gave the paintings a chance to stand up for themselves.

6.30pm – English Folk Dance and Song Society:

After a lengthy walk across Regents Park, Tom and I arrived at the Biennial/Frieze event which saw vocal artist Meredith Monk’s first performance in the UK for almost 10 years. The reception was busy and full of conversations about what exhibitions people were going to see…and who they were trying to avoid at Frieze.

9.06pm – Euston station:

I arrived and caught the train back to Liverpool by the skin of my teeth! On the way home, I’m exhausted, but really looking forward to working with the judges and being as excited as they are about seeing a true survey of UK painting.

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