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University of Northampton

05/07/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/07/2024 08:21

“I told my story through drawing…”: UON graduate awarded top global prize with hyper-realistic art

Talented George Metu saw off competition from more than 6,000 artists across the globe to scoop the top prize in this year's Derwent Art Prize.

The University of Northampton's Fine Art Painting and Drawing graduate's hyper-realist drawing was judged to be the award's most outstanding work within the Young Artist First Prize category, and saw George win £4,000 as a result of his eye-catching artwork.

The Derwent Art Prize is a global art competition and exhibition. Open to artists from around the world, the prize rewards excellence by showcasing the very best 2D & 3D artworks created in pencil or coloured pencil as well as water soluble, pastel, graphite and charcoal.

George's winning artwork, 'Untitled', blurs the lines between photorealism and high-definition drawing to create a self-portrait using only graphite.

His art was remarked by judges as "not mere replication but inquiries into the essence of realism itself […] he focused on the intricate details of the tens of thousands of pencil strokes that make up the work."

"The work is a self-portrait I decided to make a year after University, when I was still navigating my way through adult life," explains George. "At the point when I first put pencil to paper, I wasn't working and job hunting was starting to drain me. The art is basically a reprinted action of how I left every day. I was at home trying to keep going, but knowing my situation wasn't what I wanted - so I told that story through my drawing."

This year's Derwent Art Prize saw over 6,000 entries by 2,324 artists in 77 countries. The selectors - Sergio Gomez, Curtis Holder, Valérie Sonnier and Helen Waters - shortlisted 68 artworks for an exhibition in London last month.

On hearing the news of his win, George said: "I was really pleased with the outcome of my drawing, especially after months of constant hard work and level of detail that went into it (nearly 150 hours' worth!). It's a really treasured piece that means a lot to me.

"I was confident in my ability and the unique technique I applied of photo realism within my art, but I absolutely was not expecting to win. I was really surprised, shocked, but very pleased.

George Metu's artwork can be viewed via his Instagram - @artbymetu.

Find out more about studying Fine Art Painting and Drawing at the University of Northampton.