When TLC graduate Jamie Mackman arrived at the awards night for the 2015 Cliftons Regional Art Prize, she wasn’t having a good day. She probably wouldn’t have attended had it not been for the fact that she was a Wellington regional finalist. “When I was there milling about between artists and the corporate world I just kind of wanted to be at home,” she says. Luckily for her, there happened to be some fellow TLC students in the crowd and catching up with them made for a pleasant evening.
The work which secured Jamie’s place amongst the finalists was her painting entitled ‘The difference between a flower and a weed is judgement’. It depicts a young man standing in a corner of a room - a piece originally created as part of Jamie’s first solo exhibition called ‘Boys Wear Pants’. “It was a series of large figurative works and oval portraits and I had a lot of fun coming up with titles for each piece that played on a number of meanings to keep the viewer tickled with intrigue,” she says. “The young man is my work colleague; he is a great model and has been in a few of my paintings now.”
‘The difference between a flower and a weed is judgement’, oil on panel, 1200mm x 800mm,Jamie Mackman
Having her painting chosen from amongst 700 entries across Asia and the Pacific, and displayed alongside a small selection of works deemed to be the best of the bunch was, to that point, the highlight of Jamie’s creative career. And, while she had no expectations of winning the Wellington regional prize, she did secretly hope to secure the People’s Choice Award and its prize of “fancy champagne”.
So, when her name was called out as the overall winner of the Wellington section, along with a prize of $2000USD, Jamie was completely taken aback. “I was quite confused and stood there a few seconds until I was lovingly nudged to go up on stage and accept my award,” she recalls. “It is my first time winning an art award and hearing your name called at the precise moment you expect another is quite a surreal experience.”
Jamie Mackman with her award certificate and winning painting
It goes without saying that the evening turned out to be one that Jamie will never forget. “We followed it up with a decadent bottle of Central Otago Pinot Noir and there were a lot of giggles about how weird it was that I had actually won!” she says. But, as the reality of her win sank in, any sense of wonderment turned to justifiable pride. “To have been selected as one of the top 10 regional winners is a great feeling and has given me confidence in my work,” she says. Jamie’s painting now becomes part of the ever-expanding Clifton’s art collection and is on permanent display at the Majestic Centre in Wellington.
As for the future, Jamie’s is looking particularly bright. She’s just found out that she’s a finalist in this year’s prestigious Adam Portraiture Award with her painting, ‘Big Girl’s Blouse’. It’s yet another exceptional achievement and a testament to Jamie’s dedication to her craft.
‘Big Girl's Blouse’, oil on panel, 1210mm x 800mm, Jamie Mackman
You can follow Jamie's work on her Facebook page: Jamie Mackman - Artist
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