Friday, 6 January 2012

Words from Sophie Percival: Winner of the jotta Award 2011 and Transition Gallery Award 2011

Sophie Percival, winner of both the jotta Award 2011 and Transition Gallery Award 2011 has kindly written a summary about her time since graduating in the summer of 2011 and the projects and exhibitions she has undertaken since winning the prizes.

Installation view of the Beverley Hills Mansions, CA (detail), 2011, 18 framed photographs, each 30x42cm. Photography Kent Wilson, Copyright Sophie Percival 2011. 

It is hard for me to imagine what I would be doing as an artist without the Chelsea Prizes because their influence has guided my movements so much over the last 6 months. 

By winning the Transition Prize I had something to directly focus on following graduation as I had my solo show scheduled there for mid-August. This meant I didn't have a slump after the degree show which I think can happen. The directors at Transition helped me curate the show and they were very kind and amazing to learn from. Along with the gallery space, they have 2 publications; Arty and Garageland. My Beverly Hills Mansions series was included in an article in Garageland which was exciting. It's interesting to see how other people reference your work and how it fits into their own trains of thought. Another great thing about Transition was how they dealt with the press for the show and publicised it properly. I had an hour long interview with the Los Angeles correspondent from The Independent which was pretty intense. 

After the Transition show, and as a result of my degree show, I was then invited to be part of a group show of ex students at Leeds College of Art and Design (where I had completed my foundation) at the beginning of September. That was great because we all had a chance to meet up and see how everyone's work had developed in 3 years from a cross section of different national courses. 

Beverley Hills Drive, CA (detail), 2011, 30x42cm. Photography Kent Wilson. Copyright, Sophie Percival 2011.

Winning the Jotta Prize has been really amazing. Initially I was meant to make an internet based piece to be showcased on the website during Frieze week in October. However I was stressing out that I wasn't going to have enough time to make something good and new, and they were so understanding and flexible. The curator that picked my work for the prize has mentored me and included me in all things to do with Jotta. The Beverly Hills Mansions series is set to be published in the coming issue of the Jotta Magazine. Because I wanted more time to develop my work I will now be launching the new web based work in March as part of the launch of their new website that focuses on selling editions of New Artists' works. They have also offered me the opportunity to create an edition of prints that will be sold online and from their project space at the Affordable Art Fair in London in March. The best thing about this is, is that it gives me time, a platform, and a deadline which I still need to make work and I think I always will.

Following March I have plans to curate a show in Swansea and am working on developing an online creative network for Oxfordshire. One of the most important things that I got from winning the prizes was the confidence to continue making work as I had been doing in 3rd year, and let my freak flag fly. But I think Chelsea try to teach you that all along anyway.

Visit to see more of Sophie's work. Keep an eye on for Sophie's work in March.