Jackson’s Open Painting Prize

During my time working for Jackson’s Art Supplies, I significantly grew their large annual prize, the Jackson’s Open Painting Prize, and completely redesigned their smaller mid-year competitions programme to create tailored opportunities for artists at different stages in their careers.

Previously the Jackson’s Open Painting Prize only existed online - I organised an exhibition of the shortlisted artists at the Battersea Affordable Art Fair which was supported by a panel discussion on the work and a wide range of digital promotion.

My new, mid-year competitions programme consisted of the Amateur Artist Prize and the Emerging Artist Prize. Each prize offered tailored opportunities such as features on leading contemporary art platforms (FLOORR Magazine, Pressing Matters, Thinking Through Drawing, The Hand Magazine, Wave Collective and the Practical Creative Podcast), monetary prizes and exposure within passionate creative communities.

Read more about the Jackson’s Competitions Programme here.


Debbie: The models for your work are fascinating, how do you build them? Is there a particular look that you’re aiming for?

Tom: The way I build the models for my paintings is not dissimilar to what you’d have done as a kid. It reminds me of playing with cardboard, junk modelling, building model train sets or scenery or all that. They’re supposed to be crude and look like a model of something else, a fake representation of something so I’m never that hung up on whether there’s a scrap of glue, something hanging off, creased cardboard or whether they’re just falling apart. I actually think their strange, unexpected textures and bits of randomness make them much more interesting to paint, plus its much more fun than painting something more structured. The more fun you can have with the models the more fun you can have when you paint them.

Read my full interview with Tom Down here.


Debbie: What do you think makes a good painting?

FLOORR Magazine: In my experience, a good painting is something that has sincerity, its honest and it tells me something about the artist who painted it. There are plenty of good paintings but also plenty of bad ones out there, but it’s important not to dwell too much on if it’s good or bad, just make. “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” – Andy Warhol.

Read my full introduction of, and interviews with, the Emerging Artist Prize’s Editorial Partners.