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Top art prize for sixth-former Izzy

One of our students has won a prestigious art award, beating thousands of other applicants to take home the coveted title and prize money.

Sixth former Izzy Holt entered the Holt Festival competition on the advice of our head of art  and was thrilled to win the Sworders Young Artists prize, and £500 in prize money. 

“I still can’t believe it!” said the talented 17-year-old. “I was so shocked when my art teacher told me I was shortlisted!

“Although I was very excited, I really thought that was as far as it would go, and I was so proud of myself for reaching even that level.

“When I actually won, I was so surprised that I started crying, and so did my family who were there with me, just because of how surreal it felt.”

The winning artwork took some 22 hours to complete and was drawn in tonal pencils, with dramatic red writing splashed across the images of three female bodies.

“My entry was a piece called ‘No Means No’ that targets the issue of sexual assault, which continues to affect so many women,” Izzy explained. “The piece visualises the emotional pain of sexual assault and how it can happen to any woman of any shape or size.

“The artist who influenced the piece was Barbara Kruger, an artist I have also enjoyed working from in my A Level project.

“She is a famous activist who uses detailed black-and-white images paired with bold, red text on top to convey the urgency for societal change.

“I continue to use these colours and her bold approach in my own work, taking inspiration from her style.”

We have a strong art culture, and it was our Head of Art, Lee Eveson, himself a working artist and Holt Festival finalist, who encouraged Izzy to enter the competition.

“Izzy has a natural talent and this is backed up by a person who is hard-working and committed to her studies,” said Mr Eveson, who was shortlisted for the Sir John Hurt Art Prize. “She has already developed her style and has the growing confidence of a creative who will go a long way.”

Izzy continued: “I’m currently working on a project in my art A Level about the use of art as propaganda, particularly on feminism, which is one of my favourite types of art, because of the impact it can have when addressing serious issues and expressing a problem or inequality that should be fixed.

“Because art is such a powerful tool, I enjoy using it as a form of activism, knowing that I’m trying to make an impact.”

She added: “I have really enjoyed studying art at Springwood so far, mainly because of the staff that are always happy to give advice and support, but, at the same time, allow you to work independently with your ideas and artistic development.

“My plans next are to study art at university, as I’m really enjoying the artistic journey in my A Level.

“I’d like to extend this further at uni, and continue to develop my own distinctive art style. In terms of after that, I’m not too sure yet.

“Of course, I would love to pursue a career in art, and I’m hoping my time at unit will help me in deciding which career path is best for me, whether this is using my artistic skills working for an organisation, or creating and selling my art as an individual practising artist.

“I think it’s really hard to see myself in 10 years, because I have so many opportunities ahead of me that could change my path in terms of my career, or simply as an individual.

“Ideally, I would like 27-year-old Izzy to be thriving in a creative job, potentially starting to grow her own family, and still exploring all of the opportunities ahead of her!”