As we eagerly anticipate an announcement from our judging panel, revealing which artists have been shortlisted for the Fourth edition of the Young Masters Prize, I reflect back to where it all began.

I first encountered the Young Masters Art Prize in 2009, when I was offered the chance to produce some film-footage covering the exhibition setup and prize opening in the Old Truman Brewery. At the time, aged 17 and studying for my impending A-level Exams, I was delighted to break routine and immerse myself in the excitement surrounding the talent of Young Masters Artists. I had the privilege of filming the vacant venue space as it came to life, filled with colourful and vibrant artwork. My fondest memory was watching Ghost of a Dream cast their magic to fulfil their extraordinary vision of a lottery ticket installation in the space, ‘Dream Home,’ 2009. I can clearly recall the quiet whispering of decision-making between the pair as they discussed and fine-tuned their ticket placements between bouts of frenzied activity. The space had been filled with such heights of metallic, bright colour, and yet carried the eeriness of something more ominous – the tangible weight of broken dreams. The art duo proceeded to win the Prize and contribute to the following 2012 Young Masters Art Prize as judges.

Other highlights have included David Roche and his Pillar of Society, beautiful hair sculptures with decadent wooden vessels by Antonia Tibble, hidden jewels protruding from Maisie Broadhead’s photographs and missing characters from iconic scenes in Charlotte Bracegirdle’s paintings.

From the genesis of Young Masters in 2009, to the Fourth edition of the Prize today, I have witnessed a growing scope and talent of artists. The previous Young Masters and new applicants continue to prove strong that the concerns, ideals and truths pursued the Old Masters run parallel through the practices of artists today. The reverence and irreverence to artistic forbearers, shared concerns and artistic challenges carry as much significance today as they have ever before.

Image Credits: Dream Home, 2009, 102″ high x variable dimensions, $70,000 worth of discarded lottery tickets, cardboard, foam, wood, and steel. Courtesy of Ghost of a Dream.

By Phoebe Walsh, Young Masters Art Prize 2009 – present.

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