Budding Artist Wins The Saatchi Gallery / Sunday Telegraph Prize

Britons just can’t get enough of trees at the moment. A week after David Hockney unveiled his gaudy Yorkshire landscapes at the Royal Academypaintings described as “rubbish” by his former art teacher The Saatchi Gallery/Sunday Telegraph Art Prize for Schools 2011 has been awarded to 18-year-old Julia Whiting from Exeter, for her installation of tree drawings, “A Sense of Place.” “Like Hockney, I’ve always loved walking in the woods with my sketchbook,” said the budding artist, who is currently applying for an undergraduate illustration degree.

The £2,000 ($3,118) award is open to all children — regardless of their age, country of residence, or medium of choice. But painting remained the most popular choice for the 13,000 kids who applied this year. Runner-ups James Wallis, 13, from Surrey, and Mu-Chun Chiang, 18, from Cambridge, painted a war scene and a portrait respectively.

The youngest competitor was Joel Steele, from Newcastle, who submitted a canvas entitled “Monkey.” “It’s so refreshing to hear visitors to the gallery saying: ‘I can’t believe an eight year-old did that’ rather than ‘My eight year-old could have done that’!,” said Saatchi Gallery director Rebecca Wilson.

Works by the 20 finalists are on show until January 24, 2012, at the Saatchi Gallery, London.

— Coline Milliard, ARTINFO UK