An upcoming Porirua painter who has seen her star rise thanks to the Friends of Pātaka Art Awards is encouraging budding artists to enter.
Entries are now open for the annual art awards, that throws the spotlight on the work of local artists with connections to Porirua.
The six categories are open to any original artwork in any medium completed in the last 12 months, by any artist living, working or studying in Porirua City.
Plimmerton artist Alicja Gear previously won the People’s Choice Award category at the 2017 awards, and the Jane Hyder Award category at the 2018 awards.
Gear had just started painting when she joined the Mana Arts Club and entered the 2017 Arts Awards.
She said the awards had been a fantastic springboard at a time when her career as a painter was just starting to take off.
“Winning the People’s Choice Award gave me some credibility, because I hadn’t been to art school, and I don’t have any of that formal art training behind me.
“The award gave me something to mark in the sand as something I had achieved.”
Gear said the awards had helped open the doors to her twice exhibiting at Pātaka.
Her latest exhibition at Pātaka, Essence of this Land, was also set to kick off in the Toi Gallery on 5 July.
She said the fact that the competition was open to anyone from Porirua also provided a fantastic incentive to enter.
“I think it’s really cool that the awards accept work from anyone, a lot of competitions you enter can be really narrow with the entries they accept.
“It’s really nice that everyone gets an opportunity to get their work into the gallery, and it’s such an amazing feeling seeing your work up on the wall.
“It gives you such a confidence boost, and that really has given me the confidence to keep pushing forward with my painting.
“I now have two awards I can build my reputation as an artist around.”
Gear said the space chosen to exhibit the entries, the Bottle Creek Gallery at Pātaka, was also a great choice of venue.
“The Bottle Creek is such an amazing gallery, the fact it is so public and so easy to get to, and that you get such a diverse number of people through.
“Also because it is open to that central spine of Pātaka, it means people can see your work without ever really going into the gallery, you get such great exposure from that.”
Friends of Pātaka President Robyn Parker said now was the time for anyone wanting to enter this year’s awards to submit their work in one of the great categories.
“With just over a month until the deadline for people to get their entry forms to the reception at Pātaka on 5 August, now is the perfect time for anyone who wants to be a part of the awards to enter.
“The wide range of categories; the Open Award, the Highly Commended Award, The Jane Hyder Award for Painting, The First Time Entry Award, the Viewer’s Choice Award and the Creativity and Promise Scholarship, there is a category for artists at all levels and of all abilities to enter.
“We are hopeful of really strong fields in all the award categories.”