A YOUNG Carlow artist has struck the art world lottery after she selected from an incredible 10,000 entries across Europe to star in the prestigious TV show Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2017.
Cathy Reddy (24) from the Fighting Cocks will be one of eight artists to feature of the hugely popular TV show, which boasts some of the leading lights in the art world among its judges and is presented by Frank Skinner and Joan Bakewell.
“It’s like entering into a raffle and never thinking that you were going to win … it’s just surreal. I couldn’t believe it when I got that call from London,” an elated Cathy told The Nationalist.
The programme kicks off on Sky Arts tomorrow night, Wednesday 18 October. Filming for the show took place on location in north Yorkshire last summer, but Cathy is sworn to absolute secrecy about its results.
Daughter of Jim and Margaret Reddy, Cathy graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree from Crawford College of Art and Design in Cork last year.
“There was an open call for artists for the show earlier this year,” explains Cathy. “The entry form was all online so I filled it in and sent some emails of my work. It’s my favourite show and it is so huge. I never thought any more about it until I got this phone call from London last May,” she adds.
On the phone was award-winning and world-acclaimed artist Tai Shan Schierenberg, one of the judges on Landscape Artist of the Year 2017, telling a stunned Cathy that she had been selected. Tai and fellow judges independent curator Kathleen Soriano and art historian Kate Bryan had viewed all 10,000 entries from across Europe on big screens in London, then handpicked Cathy among the finalists.
Within weeks of that phone call, Cathy was heading off on location to north Yorkshire. There, she had to set up an outdoor studio in front of a picturesque landscape and given just four hours to complete her work, while cameras filmed her every move!
Members of the public were also allowed to watch the work unfold, with Cathy’s parents delighted to attend filming in the English countryside. Her parents and siblings, Bernard and Valerie, along with the wider Reddy family, are hugely proud of Cathy’s terrific achievement.
“It didn’t feel like a competition because everyone was so nice. I was treated like a queen – we all had a runner and everything, so if there was anything you wanted, they could go and get it for you,” she explained.
Cathy’s art work normally focuses on the Irish agricultural landscape, using the medium of relief printmaking. Cathy works with large-scale lino printing, a very tricky, specialised form of art.
For the competition she asked to recreate the ruins of a castle. “Normally I prefer wide vistas, so it wasn’t what I’d usually do but I was happy,” she added.
Cathy is Crawford College’s first artist ever to be selected for the show and as a recent graduate that’s also a first for Landscape Artist of the Year.
“The other artists were all practising artists already, so I think it was a first to have a student fresh out of art school on the show,” she said.
Cathy was also shortlisted recently in both the WB Yeats Foundation Legacy national printmaking prize and the undergraduate awards, where she was chosen as one of the top 25 graduating art students worldwide. Some of her prints are also part of the Cork Institute of Technology’s permanent collection.
A past pupil of Tullow Community School, Cathy is currently on placement, teaching art at a school in Thurles. “I’d love to be a professional artist, but I love teaching, too, so maybe a mix of the two,” Cathy smiled.
The prize for winning Landscape Artist of the Year 2017 is a £10,000 commission and a trip to Jamaica to complete the commission. This work will then feature in the collection of the National Gallery in London.