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IN THE KNOW: Vanguard Court Prize 2016 Winner Billy Crosby


Written by
Loula Mercedes
Published date
20 June 2016

This year The Vanguard Court Prize has been awarded to BA Painting student Billy Crosby. This prize allows new artists to grow and develop, the prize was launched in 2010 and is offered to recent graduates of Camberwell College of Arts and those currently graduating. We caught up with Billy to speak about what he is doing now, including winning The Vanguard Court Prize.

Congratulations, how do you feel about winning the award?

I am buzzing, its an incredible opportunity. I am not being dropped in straight off the deep end after graduation, which I am extremely grateful for. It’s a very privileged position, it means, ultimately, that I have the time and support to continue to work without losing any of the momentum I have built up at Camberwell over the past three years. Its a huge boost.

 Billy Crosby

Billy Crosby on hand painted floor

Billy Crosby work in process

Billy Crosby work in process

Billy Crosby's work for the Summer Show 2016

Billy Crosby’s work for the Summer Show 2016

Are you a Peckham/Camberwell resident?

I’m from Dumfries and Galloway, South West Scotland, but I have lived here for the last six years, with a few gaps in-between.

How did you enter the competition?

I submitted an application containing images of my degree show and all prior related work, in order to give a more expanded view of my practice. It also contained a statement about my practice and a statement to explain why I thought I was suitable and how I would benefit from the award. I also included a CV.

Please tell us about your art practice

I am interested in ideas of illusion and reality. I intend my work to operate as tools for re-calibrating perception. Ideally whatever we wish for, anticipate or try to make believe is aligned with our desires and our actions, I try to disrupt the usual order of things where the viewer becomes aware of how they watch, listen, understand and empathise with things, in order to present a kind of transitory reality.

I do this using various degrees of artifice, rendered through material substitution. For example MDF if painted and carved to resemble planks of wood, battered looking terracotta hinges are glazed to look like iron, painted coins stand in for door studs. These materials have their own characteristics; once the ideas become material the material takes on a life of its own, creating its own indexical visual language. This material engagement is where a lot of my work happens, experimenting and responding to the different relationships of material characteristics.

How was your time at Camberwell?

It has been amazing, often tough and extremely challenging. You get back what you put in, that’s for sure. Studying here has created my art practice, it has influenced it on every level, when I started it would have been impossible for me to conceive what I do and think now.

And finally, any near plans?

Further than developing my practice and having a nice time, I couldn’t say.

Billy’s work will be exhibited at Camberwell College of Arts during the Summer Shows 2016.


Related links:

Vanguard Court

BA Painting