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Your guide to this year’s Emerging Artists Award

As the 2015 edition launches, catch up on the artists and the art works taking place

For its milestone fifth year, Converse and Dazed are partnering once again for the Emerging Artists Award in 2015. Curated by Susanna Davies-Crook, the Award was open to unrepresented artists of all disciplines not currently in education, the prize builds on Converse and Dazed’s shared history of supporting the UK’s vibrant creative community, and has grown in prestige since its inception in 2010.

The annual art competition was formed with the desire to support emerging artists in the UK at a time when they need it the most. Artists are selected through an open-submission call hosted online by Dazed, and entrants are invited to submit work in a variety of media, with the only prerequisite being an inventive and well-executed approach to visual art production. For the prize’s landmark fifth edition, five finalists representing an exciting and diverse selection of names from the new generation of artists have been selected from over 1,700 entries. Each has been awarded £1,000 towards the production of new work created especially for this exhibition.

Our panel of esteemed judges – Steven Claydon, Francesca Gavin, Tim Marlow, Sarah McCrory, José Parlá and Javier Peres – then assesses the work, choosing an overall winner of the Converse x Dazed Emerging Artists Award to receive a £5,000 prize.


Irish duo Tamsin Snow and Sarah Tynan met while studying sculpture and painting respectively at the Royal College of Art. They have exhibited as solo artists, with Snow a recipient of the Royal Hibernian Academy Artist Studio Award, and Tynan exhibiting as part of Bloomberg New Contemporaries and the Jerwood Drawing Prize. Recent collaborative endeavours include exhibitions such as Pavilion at Store and Lobby Part 1 & 2 at the Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin. Their practice unites around atmosphere, environment, patterns and architecture.

About the work

Rooms are constructed to be fit for purpose: for bodies, objects or facilities. Measures are put in place to make us aware of the use- value of these structures before we even set foot in them. They perform gravitas or humbleness, invite or forebode. Tamsin Snow and Sarah Tynan interrogate the coding of this architecture through a visual schema of objects, pattern and atmosphere in their sculptural work. In MULTIFAITH, they consider the utilitarian, and increasingly ubiquitous, design of the multi-faith room. Now present at many public sites, both institutional and commercial, this space for contemplation for people of faith and no faith predicates an emptying out and negation of bias. The architecture does not house furniture, lest a table be seen as an altar or an image an icon, and often shares the same perceived high-modernist aesthetics of glass, concrete and ‘modern’ abstract painting. Here, Snow and Tynan extricate the room from its globalised ‘non-space’ habitat (shopping centre, airport lounge, football stadium), and consider it on its own terms so we can unpick the lineage of this design and consider how spaces act upon us.


A Goldsmiths MFA graduate with a BA in fine arts from Central Saint Martins, Rachel Pimm has exhibited and presented projects at the Zabludowicz Collection, Goethe-Institut, Enclave Deptford, Architecture Foundation and SPACE, among others. As a founder member of MoreUtopia! and artist- run project space Auto Italia South East, Pimm has worked collaboratively with a core steering group in hosting many of London’s emerging artists and established theorists. For this project, she is exploring ecologies of material resources.

About the work

Dripping, flopping, gaping, tearing: rubber circulates through global trade routes from plant to factory to product, and back again. This ‘elastic chameleon’ features in our everyday lives, manifesting in flooring and tyres, sneakers and gloves. As it expires, it is sent back via European recycling outsourcing to developing economies including India. The material itself is the protagonist of Rachel Pimm’s work, India Rubber, as the investigative gaze of her camera explores both the substance and its human economies of production. This installation reciprocates between the first-person research of the film, with its soundtrack by Graham Cunnington from 80s industrial band Test Dept, and the sculptural elements of the rubber-leaved plant perched atop the pile of rubber chips, hinting at a life long past as it sits immobile in the gallery. Having observed rubber in its newly naturalised environment, Pimm has rubber-cast clone leaves plucked and moulded from plants housed at Kew Gardens. Significantly, that bastion of empire-era horticulture and design housed the plants upon their first arrival in the UK from Brazil. They were then held there for propagation and eventual export to the south-east Asian colonies, where they were farmed into a monoculture and milked for industrial processes. In tracing these ecologies of finite natural resources, Pimm places us at the apex of production and implicates us in our global future.


The east London-based artist featured in Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2009 and 2011, and has since shown internationally at galleries including Josh Lilley at NADA Miami, James Fuentes in New York and Marcelle Joseph Projects in Istanbul. For the Converse x Dazed Emerging Artists Award, the Royal Academy graduate from the class of 2010 is back in familiar surroundings with this abundant installation, using castings and facsimiles to explore the ways in which we perceive and consume.

About the work

Apples teeter dangerously, waxed skin winks under flouro lights, carrots roll over each other’s orange flesh vying for attention: produce aisles are packed with desire, and we have become accustomed to our role as visually trained consumers. Beckoned by image and sold by seduction, the excess of food industries in countries with a supermarket culture has led to an explosion in the strange and fantastic ways that are found to bind, wrap and package goods. Anyone visiting east London’s early morning bulk-buy markets at New Spitalfields and Billingsgate will be familiar with the traders lording over their piles of native fruit or fish, and their more distinguished, rare or ‘exotic’ wares. In considering the formal qualities of individual items, prizing them on their engorged size, seductive shape or lurid colour, Trayte creates a visually joyous and ultimately uncomfortable portrait of abundance. His subjects are taken out of their decaying timespans to be placed on a longer lifeline via his materials-heavy processing. Making use of fine-art materials from ceramic glaze to sculptor’s favourite ciment fondu, the newly hatched, extravagantly crafted objects take their place in an adjacent mechanism of barter and trading within a global art marketplace.


Having studied at Cambridge, the AA and Cooper Union in New York, the Frankfurt-born, Malaysian-Chinese artist has developed his interactive virtual environments and installed them in countries including Australia, Iran, China and Hungary. His work has been hosted by organisations such as the V&A, SPACE, Barbican and the Delfina Foundation, and he is currently a resident artist at The White Building in Hackney Wick. This virtual simulation of the Royal Academy, based on surveyors’ drawings as well as found text from Russian Tatler (translated into Mandarin for a Chinese audience, subtitled in English), invites the participant to a multilingual conjuring of the building’s potential future as repurposed by high-end estate agents.

About the work

Helicopters swoop on the penthouse helipad of a vast neo-classical complex. In the grounds, Anish Kapoor sculptures glint with dancing shards of light from a swimming pool lit by neon LEDs. Heat rises and cools in the summer air, condensing into mist and teasing the intransigent line of the laser perimeter alarm encircling an oligarch, a business tycoon, a collector... The Royal Academy’s high- vaulted ceilings, ornate plasterwork and Corinthian columns standing sentry over wide empty porticos are a shared architecture of the super-rich. It is this reality Lawrence Lek would have us enter as he keenly observes the vulnerable position these attractive features place the institution in, its design and prestigious art-world credentials exploited as sales tactics. The RA itself is on a rental contract, and set against the backdrop of London’s current housing crisis, Lek leverages this crack in the facade of dominance and timelessness associated with the nation’s most auspicious art establishment.

On Friday 24 April EAA 2015 winner, Lawrence Lek, will give a special live tour, joined by cellist Oliver Coates who composed the soundtrack for his artwork Unreal Estate, and Joni Zhu, who translated the game, at the RA. The event is free – to reserve your space, click here


London native Patrick Cole has lived in Glasgow since receiving his MFA from the city’s School of Art. During his studies at GSA, Cole attended Douglas Gordon’s class at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, where he was awarded the Filigran Trägersysteme Performance Prize. Cole’s work has been exhibited at Glasgow’s Transmission Gallery, the ICA in London and Neoterismoi Toumazou in Cyprus, and this year he was selected for the Catlin Art Guide. His scripted performances explore ideas of the bard through personal narratives woven with fictional events and characters. These are underpinned by his handmade theatrical sets and sculptures.

About the work

Tall turrets glowering through slitted eyes over walled cities, the ruined castle defends its place in the cultural imaginary, usually situated in British fort-town high streets adjacent to a carpark or a Yates’s Wine Lodge. This conflation of past and present becomes intertwined and eventually farcical through Patrick Cole’s layered narratives, as they traverse the archaic tropes of stories often told yet half- remembered, from medieval oral tradition through to the present-day recounting of a Friday night on the tiles. Indebted to the likes of Monty Python and Harry Hill, the performances draw on the great British tradition of absurdist and observational comedy. As an epic narrator, Cole plays deftly with language: a person can also be a ruin, or ruined, dependent on their actions. Here, he renders the familiar absurd in his part- scripted, part-ad libbed soliloquys. His presence is imperative; words tripping off the tongue in a way that cannot be fully rehearsed or mimicked.

Don't miss: Patrick Cole's performance of Ruin (2015). Taking place: 18 April at 3pm, 19 April at 3pm, 15 May at 7.30pm, 16 May at 3pm, and 17 May at 3pm

The Coverse and Dazed Emerging Artists Award will take place from 18 April – 17 May

Stay tuned for an exciting event happening on 4 May, 2015. Details to be announced soon

Emerging Artists Award Finalists' Night – Intended as a more imaginative and informal introduction to the work and research of the finalists and those involved in the prize, there will be a Lightning talk on 20 April in association with MoreUtopia! and special guests.

Each guest will show 20 slides for 20 seconds each on a range of subjects adjacent or tangential to their practice,  and will be followed by a roundtable discussion and screenings.  

Dazed x Converse and the Royal Academy invite you to celebrate the landmark 5th year of the Converse x Dazed Emerging Artists Award with an exclusive talk from all five finalists of this years prize plus special guests!

Patrick Cole, Lawrence Lek + Clifford Sage, Tamsin Snow, Sarah Tynan, Jonathan Trayte, Rachel Pimm + special guests MoreUtopia! - Gareth Owen Lloyd, Kristin Luke, Jasmine Johnson, Alice May Williams 

Dazed x Converse judge Francesca Gavin, exhibition curator Susanna Davies-Crook + Alastair Frazer