Local sculptor and stonemason, Tom Waugh, is making a name for himself and his work on the international art stage after winning two categories of the prestigious Rise Art Prize launched in October 2017 and judged this month.
Tom’s pieces – all highly realistic stone carvings of crumpled waste objects including a cigarette butt, cardboard boxes and a petrol can – won both the People’s Choice Award and the category award for sculpture. Competition for the first came from work by more than 16,000 artists from around the world and the second was judged by an expert panel of established artists. The awards were announced in a ceremony at The House of Vans gallery under Waterloo Station in London on 8 February.
Tom’s sculptures and the winners of other Rise Art Prize categories are now exhibited at The House of Vans until the end of February when the exhibition will move to Oxfordshire. Tom has been invited to present a talk about his work at the London exhibition on Thursday 22nd February.
He is originally from Tiverton but now lives in Wellington. He took an early interest in the restoration of a Bristol church while living in the city. He said, “I went and asked for a job and everything started from there. I went to masonry college for 2 years in Bath and then to the City and Guilds London School to study for a 3 year Diploma in architectural carving.
“Since then my work has involved restoration of classical sculptures on churches but five years ago I started doing my own pieces and exhibited them at the 10 Parishes Festival in Wiveliscombe. It’s the same skill-set, just different subject-matter.”
Rise Art is an online platform for artists who can submit work which is then selected by curators to be sold or hired via the website ‘to help people get great art into their lives’.
The stated aim of the Rise Art Prize is to ‘discover the next big names around the world in contemporary art’. Tom said, “I entered, got through to the next stage and Rise Art invited me to put my work on their platform and shortlisted for the sculpture prize.” He added, “The standard of the other 24 finalists’ work was astonishing and it was humbling to be amongst such great talent. In the run-up to the prize, my work was featured in the Financial Times and What’s Hot London.”
Looking ahead, he said, “Entering the Rise Art Prize and becoming a shortlisted artist meant that I was invited to sell my work on the Rise Art website. That in itself was a huge boost, but then winning two prizes was totally unexpected and I am over the moon. I hope that winning these awards will help raise my profile as an artist and provide exhibition opportunities. I would also like to produce larger scale public works of art and I hope that this might now be possible.”
Judged by an expert panel including Richard Wilson, Harland Miller, Ben Eine, Gavin Turk and Fiona Banner he was awarded the Rise Art Prize for sculpture for his work’s “creative excellence, original ideas and technical skill.”