National Open Art (NOA) is one of the UK’s leading art competitions, open to amateur and professional artists in the UK and Ireland. Since our first competition and exhibition in 1996, we’ve grown to offer multiple prizes that recognise talent and artistic excellence in a broad variety of artistic mediums and styles. Our panel of judges changes annually and features some of the most experienced and influential figures in the art world, from Royal Academicians to critics, curators and professionals.
NOA now attracts more than 4,000 entries per year
The Judging Process of the National Open Art Competitions
The democratic nature of our competition is what we are most proud of. Why? Because it’s fair. And that’s what we believe in here at NOA.
So, what do we mean by judged anonymously? When we greet our judges at the venue for round one, we will invite them to sit together in front of a big screen on which each submission is projected. The only information they are given is the high resolution submission image (which can be magnified), the title of the piece, the dimension, the scale (demonstrated using a small stick figurine to the bottom left hand side of the screen), the medium, and the artists’ statement for context (in case they wish to learn more about the context of the piece). In the second round, they see only the work in the flesh – no title or statement, unless they specifically ask for them.
They do not know who the artists are, whether you are male or female, how old you are, where in the UK or Ireland you come from or live, your background, your education or your training, if any. We do not brief the judges and we do not dictate any percentage or quota for each category (e.g. painting, photography, drawing or young artists’ work). The only condition we ask of our judges is that if they recognise an artist they know or are familiar with, that they make their position known and withdraw from the selection process of that piece, leaving the decision to the remaining panel.
It is a totally organic process harnessed strictly by our judging panel alone. The NOA team are strictly prohibited from commenting on any of the decision process in both rounds and during the prize selection. It is only at the absolute end of the process when the judges are assessing their final selection (which are displayed in the exhibition) that the name of the artist is revealed and thus their gender – always a very exciting moment!
This year’s judging panel consists of
Royal Academician Hughie O’Donoghue
Hughie O’Donoghue was born in Manchester in 1953 and now lives and works in London and Co Mayo, Ireland .
Solo museum exhibitions include Seven Halts on the Somme, Leighton House Museum, London, 2016, Painting/Memory:Artist’s Laboratory, Royal Academy, London, A Moment’s Liberty, Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal, 2012, The Road, DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague, Czech Republic 2011, The Journey, Leeds City Art Gallery, 2009, Lost Histories: Imagined Realities Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, Netherlands and Parables Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, France 2008.
His work is in public collections throughout the world including Art Gallery of South Australia, British Museum, London, Dallas Museum of Art, USA, The Hugh Lane, Dublin, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Michigan Museum of Art, USA, Ulster Museum, Belfast, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven USA.
He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from University College Cork, Ireland in 2005 and was elected to the Royal Academy, London in 2009 and Aosdana in 2013.
artist Jane McAdam Freud,
Jane McAdam Freud is a British sculptor working predominantly with Installation. She is currently completing a two-year Artist’s Residency at Harrow School where she teaches classes in Sculpture. She has also taught at the Royal College of Art, London and at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp. Jane is a Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors since 1994.
McAdam Freud was educated at Central School of Art, The Royal College of Art and Goldsmith’s College. She won the British Art Medal Scholarship in Rome in 1986 and the European Trebbia Award for artistic achievement in 2014. In 2016 Jane McAdam Freud was selected to membership of the RCA Court
Her works are permanently on show at the Victoria and Albert Museum and can be seen by appointment at the British Museum. She is represented in several national and international public collections including the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Tate Gallery Audio Archives, National Gallery archives, The National Museum of Ireland, National Gallery of Greece and Berlin State Museum.
former NOA winner Kelvin Okafor
Born 1st November 1985 in London, UK.
Studied a Foundation course in Art & Design at City & Guilds Art School and a graduate from Middlesex University with a B.A. (Hon)s in Fine Art.
From as early as he could remember, Kelvin Okafor has always been an emotional and highly sensitive individual. Inspired, touched and captivated by almost everything in his immediate surroundings. Around the age of 8, Okafor vividly remembers having a love and strong fascination for drawing with pencils. He found the instrument to be a humble one and would often use the expression ‘aliveness’ to describe it’s technical and sentimental value. What fascinated him most about pencils was that with single shades of lead, he could create tones and textures so defined and so abstract, an illusion of colour would be formed before him. He became heavily inspired by this notion and spent most of his early years trying to utilise its technical use.
The style in which Okafor creates his portraits is known as Hyper-realism. Art Critic, Estelle Lovatt describes his work as ‘Emotional Realism’. She mentions how the work of Okafor goes beyond being just ‘Photorealist’ drawings, and instead coins the term Emotional Realism to describe the affective nature of his artwork.
Ultimately, Okafor intends to create art that prompts an emotional response to viewers. A response that arouses the feelings of enchantment, reflection, stillness and awareness.
Other judges include gallery director Cynthia Corbett, photographer Zelda Cheatle and filmmakers Elaine Pyke and Adam Saward.
All artwork is judged strictly anonymously on talent, not connections and results in an exhibition of 100% of the open entries – not one ‘invited’ artist. By entering your work, you’ll be in with a chance of winning part of a £60,000 prize fund and being showcased in prestigious exhibitions in London and beyond.
There is a chance to take part in the people’s vote #worldartvote. The artwork with the most votes will be revealed in early September, win the £1,000 prize sponsored by MS Amlin and despite the judges decision in Round 2, be exhibited in the 21st National Open Art Exhibition Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Southbank, London from 17 – 26 November 2017 (Free Admission) and in the Winners’ Exhibition at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester 6 – 17 December 2017.. Vote for my painting ‘Life’s a Beach’ in the #worldartvote now.
Voting ends Monday 28th August. 2nd Round of Judging Tuesday 29th August
Explore, Discover, Discuss . . . Launch 2 August 2017
The National Open Art World Art Vote sponsored by MS Amlin is a celebration honouring the democratic nature of the National Open Art Competition, which is judged anonymously on talent, not connections and results in an exhibition of 100% of the open entries – not one ‘invited’ artist.
We have created the World Art Vote so YOU can have your say and vote for your favourite work or artist. We welcome you to engage, browse and support the shortlisted artists by voting for one, or as many of your favourites as you wish*. The artwork with the most votes will be revealed in early September, win the £1,000 prize sponsored by MS Amlin and despite the judges decision in Round 2, be exhibited in the 21st National Open Art Exhibition at Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Southbank, London from 17 – 26 November 2017 (Free Admission) and in the Winners’ Exhibition at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester 6 – 17 December 2017.
Although we publish the artwork anonymously, we do also encourage the artists to take the opportunity to promote themselves!
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*multiple votes on an individual artwork, from your email, will count as one only.
Click here to go to the voting page.