“Founded in 2009 by Cynthia Corbett, The Young Masters Art Prize is a unique, not-for-profit biennial competition open to international and UK-based artists who combine skill and innovation with awareness of the Old Masters and art of the past, giving global recognition to artists in the early stages of their career.

On November 20th 2012, Lottie Davies has been named the winner of The Young Masters Art Prize 2012; art historian and chair of the Art Masters judging panel, Godfrey Barker, presented the winner with the £5,000 award at Gallery 27, Cork Street.

The Young Masters Art Prize 2012 Exhibition has been curated in two parts by Daisy McMullan, Part 1 took place at Sphinx Fine Art, W8 in October 2012 and saw shortlisted artists’ work hung alongside Old Masters paintings from the Sphinx Fine Art Collection. For part 2, McMullan presented the shortlisted artists alongside three established Guest artists; Yinka Shonibare, MBE, Ali Assaf and Lluís Barba. The judging panel included the aforementioned Barker; Colin Wiggins, Special Projects Curator at the National Gallery, London; Roy Bolton, art historian and Director of Sphinx Fine Art; Adam Dant, winner of the 2002 Jerwood Drawing Prize; respected Belgian collector Alain Servais; Anke Adler-Slottke, Director, Christie’s International; and winners of the Young Masters Art Prize 2009, artist collaborative, Ghost of a Dream (Lauren Was and Adam Eckstrom).

In addition to being the founder of The Young Masters Art Prize, Cynthia Corbett is the director of The Cynthia Corbett Gallery, an international contemporary art gallery representing emerging and newly established artists.

1883 caught up with Cynthia; here’s what she told us.

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How did the idea of The Young Masters Art Prize come about?

Essentially I’m a gallery curator, and I studied art history. I love the links between the Old Masters and art history and contemporary art. It was really a personal passion of mine to combine old and new, contemporary and art historically and I thought what better way that to try to launch an art prize.

How does the selection process work?

Well we had a call for artists that started in January of this year and we actually launched at the London art fair where it was a very large audience. We received 450 applications from all over the world which was amazing. Then it took us about 4 months to come up with the shortlist – we shortlisted 26 artists, based on their submission visually, conceptionally, and their statements that related to their defence as to why they were inspired by the past.

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Who are the artists to be looking out for this year?

My personal favourites are Lottie Davies; amazing unique photos, Beth Katleman; ceramicist on the par with what the craftsmen used to do at Meissen. In addition to that Fabiano Parisi whose an incredible photographer of ambandoned and ruined places – he comes from Rome where he’s immersed in the art of the past. Also Wieland Payer a recent graduate of RCA whos amazing craftsman and painter. Derrick Santini who is a well known photographer and came up with technically brilliant and complex work. Christopher Coppers; who combines the hi tech use of ipods with really carefully constructed beautiful sculpttres. And last but not least the tiny paintings of Georgia Dodson that are just like an homage to Casper David Friedrich.

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In your opinion, what is it that makes The Young Masters Art Prize unique?

Well it’s a niche art prize. It comes out of the concept of respecting, looking, visiting the past. But its celebrating contemporary art in all the mediums so its got a clear message. When it’s young we’re not saying young age wise we’re saying young in the concept. I think in that respect its unique because the concept is really something that could be universal and it quite global but specialised in that you know that each of the artists is really thinking long and hard at their practice; both at technical practice but also looking at the history.

As a last question, what’s next for you? What are you currently working on?

Oh my, what isn’t next for me?! As soon as I down tools here, I literally go on a plane to Miami to do Miami Basel. My yearly trip, a pilgrimage to the centre of the art world, I’ll be showing about 15 artists there.

Words by Jacopo Nuvolari

Via: 1883 Magazine