Introducing the Trinity Buoy Wharf Working Drawing Prize

7th May 2019

“Drawing lies at the heart of all industry. It is about doctors, cartographers and the workmen who paint lines onto our roads; it is not just about art schools and Rembrandt.”
Stephen Farthing RA, speaking at the launch of the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2019

Founded in 1994, the UK’s foremost annual open exhibition for drawing is renowned for its commitment to both promoting and challenging contemporary drawing practice. During the 1990s, drawing found itself largely out of favour: the public had lost sight of its purpose and therefore its value. Over the ensuing years, the changing zeitgeist saw drawing begin to regain its voice and reassert its identity so that today it is once more a central strand of almost all teaching in art education. But there is still a long way to go. In a world in which we are experiencing an unprecedented rate of exchange between multiple cultural spheres, drawing is still considered by many to be a discipline which sits firmly within the realm of Fine Art.

In response to this, when Trinity Buoy Wharf Trust took over sponsorship of the Prize in 2018, they introduced a new award, one which pays tribute to Farthing’s sentiments and seeks to promote drawing as a practical and highly transferrable skill. The Working Drawing Prize, now worth £2,000, will recognise a preparatory drawing of a project or work which may be realised in any form.

In 2018, the Working Drawing Prize was awarded to Andy Bannister for ROC Post ’64, a graphite on paper drawing measuring 24.2 x 33cm. The drawing is based on a diagram of a Royal Observer Corps (ROC) underground monitoring post from the early 1960s. Over 1,500 were built across the UK between 1957 and 1965; they were staffed by personnel who had the task of recording the position and intensity of atomic blasts and the passage of radioactive fallout in the event of nuclear war.

Created using a range of magnifiers, Bannister’s work is the product of a high level of technical skill and is testament to  drawing’s functionality as a means of communication, a language in its own right. As Farthing comments, “drawing is an  important part of our literacy.”

The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2019 is now calling for entries. Artists and makers who would like to be considered for the Working Drawing Prize are invited to register online by 5pm on Wednesday 26 June 2019:

Image: Andy Bannister, ROC Post ’64 (2017)