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News: 10 Wimbledon alumni shortlisted for Clyde & Co Art Award 2017

Dinner Party, Ziyin Guan, 2016, acrylic, yarns, oil pastel, 100 x 70cm
Written by
Frances Bailey
Published date
04 December 2017

The Clyde & Co Art Award encourages emerging talent in the visual arts by introducing final year art undergraduates to the corporate sector and showcasing their work.

2017 sees the 6th year of the Clyde & Co Art Award in which 10 Wimbledon alumni have been included within the 40 graduates from major London art schools.

All graduates included are paid for a 1 year loan of their work, provided with career development opportunities, and are included in a commission-free online auction of their works. Two prizes will be awarded on 6th December, including the £2000 Staff Vote and the £5000 Clyde & Co Art Award Prize selected by a panel of professional judges. This years judges include:

Nicola Shane Director of Purdy Hicks Gallery

Laura Gascoigne Reviewer and commentator on the visual arts including for The Spectator and RA Magazine

Simon Quintero Head of Emerging Art and Artist Programme Manager at The Halcyon Gallery

Clyde & Co also run a national commission competition, Blank Canvas; a prominent 18m wall in their London offices which is made available as a site specific exhibition space.

This years shortlisted Wimbledon alumni include:

BA Fine Art: Painting

Rosie Crawley, Ziyin Guan, Christina Kim-Symes, Ffion Reed, Amanda Roberts, Pratikchha Thapa, Shuheb Ullah, Zoe Wheeler, George Wills

BA Fine Art: Print & Time-Based Media

Maxim McKay-Jones

We caught up with BA Fine Art Painting students; Rosie, Ziyin, Christina, Ffion and Zoe ahead of the prize-giving to find out a little more about their work and how they got involved in the 2017 Clyde & Co Art Awards.

Rosie Crawley

Describe yourself in 3 words: reliable, fun, enthusiastic

Some People Forget to be Humble, Rosie Crawley, 2017, Oil, chalk and spray paint on canvas
160 x 150 cm

What have you been up to since graduating?

I have been continuing to paint at home whilst saving for a studio. I have been in three shows since finishing in addition to Clyde and Co; one of them involved being a runner up for the FiLia Art Prize 2017. To make ends meet I work in a fabric showroom in Chelsea Harbour.

Tell us a little bit about your practice

Contemporary portraiture, allowing the situation of the sitter to be imagined by the viewer. The works do not just produce a saccharine likeness, more like an analysis of personal emotion and cathartic painting.

What inspires your work?

Francis Bacon’s use of structural devices and macabre meaning and Martin Kippenberger’s use of popular culture and encouragement of controversy have encouraged my work. In [Kippenberger’s] paintings he uses an excessive use of colour that can be interpreted as ugly, yet I see them as humorous. His running commentary on the modern world and the artists place within it inspired me.

How does it feel to be involved in the Clyde & Co Art Awards?

It’s helped me with projects I have been involved in since finishing university. The free advice and knowing that they can help us with our employers/ buyers is comforting.

What did you enjoy the most about your time on BA Fine Art: Painting?

The tutors were incredible; they were really caring and genuinely interested in what we were doing within our practice. It didn’t matter if we weren’t scheduled to see them, if they were free they would always help us or reply to an email.

Working in a studio among my peers allowed the creative content and thought to flow freely. We shared each other’s good times and the lows; it was a wonderful three years of being able to think and make art freely.

Do you have any advice for anyone starting a course here at Wimbledon?

Do everything you can and attend everything. The chances that are given to you and the lecturers/ external tutors they bring in helped me hugely within my practice.

You can see more of Rosie’s work on her website

Ziyin Guan

Describe yourself in 3 words: simple, natural, hand-working

How would you describe your practice?

I think my practice is a natural and aimless process. I like to play with materials, communicate with them and allow things to happen. Specifically, in my works I usually use yarn, acrylic, paper, and the likes… There is no fixed arrangement and order for them in my painting; I could use acrylic to paint on canvas firstly and then add 3D materials on top, or use acrylic to paint on 3D yarns, even the acrylic itself can exist as a kind of 3D form.  I keep experimenting and keep breaking my original cognition, take it easy, there’s no right or wrong in art practice (the words I always remind myself when I am painting).

Strawberry Cake, Ziyin Guan, 2017, mixed media on canvas, 100 x 100cm

What inspires your work?

My father is an abstract painter. Growing up surrounded by his massive paintings, I was intangibly influenced by his uncanny and colourful style of works. It not only shaped my aesthetics but also my personality. Maybe this is why I cannot stop spontaneously using vivid colours, and my paintings always express positive feelings to viewers.

How does it feel to be involved in the Clyde & Co Art Awards?

Being involved has built my confidence as a young artist and has given me more motivation. Through this opportunity, more viewers could see my works; I can receive more feedback and hear some interesting, unique perspectives of my work, which is very important to me as an emerging artist.

How has your work develop during your time on BA Fine Art: Painting?

At the very beginning, I felt very lost as a student who just steps to self-directed practice. I didn’t know what to do so I started by searching for materials. One day I was hanging out down the streets, I found colorful yarn in the shop window and these soft, flexible materials immediately stimulated my inspiration. I decided to do something with them.  After that, yarn became an essential part of my work. During the 3 years at Wimbledon I keep ‘playing with them’, and try different ways of combining this particular material with painting to create a visual effect that a two-dimensional painting cannot achieve.

Dinner Party, Ziyin Guan, 2016, acrylic, yarns, oil pastel, 100 x 70cm

What did you enjoy the most about your course?

I think what I enjoy the most should be separated to two aspects: the condition of independent study and the chances of collaborating with others.  During the three years in Wimbledon, I had enough individual space to generate, develop and approach my ideas; but at same time, we were still encouraged to participate in collaborative project: we had collaborative project with students from other courses in Wimbledon; the whole painting year group organized a group show together, and Bad painting prize…These are all precious and unforgettable experience for me at Wimbledon.

Do you have any advice for anyone starting a course here at Wimbledon?

Wimbledon is a very ideal place to study. Enjoy it; make good use of workshops and other facilities. Be self-motivated, at Wimbledon as long as you want to improve, everyone will try their best to support you.

You can see more of Ziyin’s work at

Christina Kim-Symes

Describe yourself in 3 words: intuitive, observant, thoughtful

What have you been up to since graduating?

I have been continuing with my painting, as well as attending the Professional Development sessions at Clyde & Co. I am encouraged by the interest I have had in my work, including several sales. A limited-edition print of my 2016 oil painting titled ‘Estonia – Before the Storm’ was recently presented to The Most Reverend Urmas Viilma, Archbishop of Estonia, at his visit to the Diocese of Rochester, Kent to mark the 2017 celebration of the special partnership that exists between these two countries churches. The painting is from a series I created during a visit to Haapsalu, Estonia in 2015 and the original currently hangs framed in the House of Commons.

Pause, Christina Kim-Symes, 2017, oil on canvas, 20 x 25cm

How would you describe your practice?
I combine the real with enhanced and imaginary elements by using bold, amplified colours and contrasting tonal values. I strive to stimulate the viewers’ awareness of their own environment, specifically their engagement with nature. In doing this, I reflect upon my own feelings of liberation when experiencing nature as a form of escapism and solitude. By incorporating silhouettes of anonymous, solitary figures facing away from the viewer, I aim to generate mystery and curiosity, and direct the focus towards the figure’s relationship with its surroundings.

What inspires your work?

My work revolves around inspiration gained when walking, experiencing and connecting with nature. Whether it be a small, hidden away corner that I have stumbled upon by accident that has caught my attention, or a larger, more prominent area, such as a national park that I have visited intentionally. I am predominantly inspired by artists from the Romantic movement, such as Turner, Constable and Friedrich and their responses to the power of the natural world and its impact on us. My work is also influenced by contemporary artists, such as George Shaw, exploring nature in a modern context, focusing on enhancing and drawing our attention to disregarded areas of the natural world.

Glow, Christina Kim-Symes, 2017, oil on canvas, 20 x 30cm

Tell us about your time on BA Fine Art: Painting?

My work has developed hugely during my time on BA Painting, I learned to push myself in directions that I would not have in the past. At first I was very hesitant to take any advice on board if I disagreed with it, particularly during first year, but I soon realised how beneficial it can be. Even making subtle changes can help to move work in new and exciting directions. I am continuing to keep this in mind with the work I am producing now.

I enjoyed meeting like-minded people, many of whom I have kept in touch with. I also found it beneficial to learn to contextualise and situate my practice. When I first joined the course, I found it almost impossible to talk about my work or write an artist statement. But I have now learned what an important skill this is to have, and I have improved greatly in this area.
I also enjoyed how the different disciplines crossed over, due to the small number of courses. I have realised how beneficial this can be, as it can open opportunities for collaborative work and the sharing of ideas across disciplines.

Longing, Christina Kim-Symes, 2017, oil on canvas, 20 x 30cm

Do you have any advice for anyone starting a course here at Wimbledon?
Be open to all advice given (even if you disagree with it!) Constructive criticism can be a good thing. Attend all the lectures, seminars and workshops if possible, even if the topic may seem like something that does not interest you – inspiration can come from all sorts of unexpected places. Use all support available wherever possible, and make use of the workshops and facilities that are on offer.

See more of Christina’s work at

Follow Christina on Instagram @christina.paints Twitter @ChristinaksArt and Facebook @christinaksart

Ffion Reed

What have you been up to since graduating?

I took some time out and visited artist’s studios around the UK. I wanted to visit the artists that really inspired me during my degree. I ended up getting a job as an artist’s assistant in London, which was great because it allowed me to keep on working in a studio environment whilst earning a living.

How would you describe your practice?

I’m really interested in abstract painting. I normally draw a lot and then when I think I’ve got something transfer it to canvas. I love texture in paintings and use a lot of different materials, like marble dust, latex etc. I look for chance happenings in the painting, and I rotate the canvas a lot until I find something visually intriguing. I feel like the painting is finished when it has a kind of harmony and represents my visual thinking.

Moonship, Ffion Reed,

What inspires your work?

Amy Sillman, Mary Heilmann and Gillian Ayres I guess are my biggest influences. I’ve listened to a lot of lectures by Sillman and I really like how she talks about painting. I like to be aware of what’s going on in contemporary art discussions, but I try not to get too influenced by other artists. In fact, I spend more time reading and listening music. I read a lot of sci-fi novels, like Mark Z. Danielewski, and I like a lot of weird, over-produced, electronic music. I don’t know if this relates directly to my paintings, but in some way I think these outside influences subliminally feed into the work.

What did you enjoy the most about BA Fine Art: Painting?

Wimbledon has a great community. The tutors are really dedicated to painting and you learn some great values when it comes to making artwork. I was lucky that I had some really talented people on my course and I learned a lot from them too. The studio facilities at Wimbledon are perfect for making paintings in; I had lots of space, great lighting and most importantly – a brush cleaner!

Untitled, Ffion Reed

Do you have any advice for anyone starting a course here at Wimbledon?

I guess just make the most of your time at university. Painting is a lot like athletics; if you want to be good at it, you have to practice everyday. If I ever didn’t know what to paint, I would start by making something just for myself. A piece of art I would really like to have on my wall at home. It’s the best way to be true to your self as an artist.

See more of Ffion’s work at

Zoe Wheeler

Describe yourself in 3 words: Lost in plastic

What have you been up to since graduating?

I’ve been developing my research in digital proxemics and have participated in the Feminist Internet Studio. I’ve spent some time working with the Digital Maker Collective aiming to bridge the gap between the collective and alumni students. I’ve also been collaborating on a light installation project.

Inside Outside, Zoe Wheeler, Video installation inside a plastic pod with a steel structure and a PVC haptic stitch

How would you describe your practice?

Playful, sensory, artificial and participatory.

What inspires your work?

I am inspired by how the synthetic materials in the man-made environment warps our perception on natural forms.

How has your work develop during your time on BA Fine Art: Painting?

I started the Painting course with an open mind and whilst exploring different mediums I discovered that I had a natural affinity with installation artwork. It allows me to manipulate the participants sensory experience. I also enjoy the process of making with different man-made materials.

How does it feel to be involved in the Clyde & Co Art Awards?

It has given me the opportunity to re-imagine my work in a different environment to that I would have initially perceived. Its location in the waiting room has re-contextualised the work in a different way to how I would have expected.

What’s next for Zoe?

I will be participating in the Tate Exchange with the Digital Maker Collective in March and am currently working on a project in the medium of digital art works.

You can see more of Zoe’s work at

Prize winners announced on Wednesday 6 December 2017. Click here to find out more about the Clyde & Co Art Award.

Click here to find out more about BA Fine Art: Painting

Click here to find out more about BA Fine Art: Print & Time-Based Media