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New Plymouth Artist Scoops $15,000 Art Award

Date: Monday November 22. From Odd Jobs to Great Job –New Plymouth Artist Scoops $15,000 Art Award

Jordan Barnes can now quit his odd jobs. Well, for 6 months at least. He has just been awarded the inaugural New Zealand Affordable Art Trust (NZAAT) Artist Grant, beating a field of 500 applicants.

The award comprises artistic and business mentoring, studio space, an exhibition plus a $15,000 salary and is aimed at providing emerging artists with the tools to assist them in becoming self-sustaining and taking them a few steps closer to realizing their dream of full-time practice.

Judging the award were NZAAT Executive Director Carla Russell, NZ Art Show Senior Curator Lynne Sandri and NZAAT board member Jo Hughes. The judging panel was so impressed with the standard of the applicants that their decision was all the more difficult because of it.

In Barnes they saw a focus and commitment beyond his years and his art making practices to date signified a clear and obvious talent

“We recognize in Jordan a real star quality and with the extra assistance from this grant we are pleased to be giving him the opportunity to concentrate more fully on his craft,” stated Carla Russell. “Jordan has an obvious talent and we are proud to be nurturing this, he is not afraid to push the boundaries and his work provokes conversation. He focuses on the ordinary moments in everyday life; he brings them alive and makes them interesting”. At only 25 years of age the grant is the icing on an11 year artistic career – he sold his first piece at age 14 and has been consistently painting and exhibiting since he was 16.

However, painting on a full-time basis has always seemed a mere pipedream for this multi-talented artist. Barnes currently supplements his income by working at various occupations including acting, modeling, music and work for Puke Ariki Museum and Library in New Plymouth.

“I wouldn’t be able to survive without that work,’ says Barnes “but to receive this grant would give me that break to focus purely on my art and would give me the boost to become a full-time artist once the 6 month residency is over”

The residency will be based in Wellington, a move that Barnes welcomes. In 2009 he moved to Auckland for 8 months and cites it as one of the best things he’s done as an artist. “Making the move took me out of my comfort zone, forcing me to explore different ideas, techniques and mediums within my creativity. “I have a real love for Wellington city – and I look forward to working with the NZAAT and being a part of their vision.”

The tenure of the Grant begins in March 2011 and culminates in an exhibition at the NZ Art Show 2011, TSB Bank Arena, Wellington, July 28th – 31st.

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Jordan Barnes

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Jordans artwork: "Juliet and the abyss"


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