Slade School alumnus is winner of art competition

Alnwick Artist Peter Drew who had come up with the winning design for Alnmouth Arts Festival 2016.'Photograph by Jane Coltman
Alnwick Artist Peter Drew who had come up with the winning design for Alnmouth Arts Festival 2016.'Photograph by Jane Coltman

It’s second time lucky for a well-established artist after he won our competition to find the poster design for next year’s Alnmouth Arts Festival

The 12th edition of the popular event, which sees artists from all over the North East displaying in venues across the village, will take place on Saturday, June 18, and Sunday, June 19.

Alnwick Artist Peter Drew who had come up with the winning design for Alnmouth Arts Festival 2016.'Photograph by Jane Coltman

Alnwick Artist Peter Drew who had come up with the winning design for Alnmouth Arts Festival 2016.'Photograph by Jane Coltman

The festival committee once again teamed up with the Northumberland Gazette to run a competition to find the poster image for the initiative.

And this year’s winner, an acrylic by artist Peter Drew, is a striking image which contrasts to previous entries.

Mr Drew’s submission last year was the runner-up.

He said: “On the strength of getting the runner-up last year, I thought I’d put something in this year and see if the panel would go for it.”

Alnwick Artist Peter Drew who had come up with the winning design for Alnmouth Arts Festival 2016.'Photograph by Jane Coltman

Alnwick Artist Peter Drew who had come up with the winning design for Alnmouth Arts Festival 2016.'Photograph by Jane Coltman

Mr Drew has had a successful career in an art world which he describes as a “pretty nasty business to be in, but a wonderful one too”.

The Midlands-born artist qualified from Newport College of Art with a first class degree in fine art and went on to obtain a masters from the UK’s highest ranked art and design establishment, the Slade School of Fine Art in London.

He enrolled as a mature student and was in the same year as Antony Gormley, best known for creating the Angel of the North.

“The Slade had a system in those days where sometimes postgraduate students would come in as teaching assistants and I was very lucky to be get that role, which meant I could stay at the Slade after leaving as a student,” said Mr Drew.

“During that time, I was again very lucky and I got involved with a gallery in Amsterdam.”

It was the famous Galerie Swart, which is described as ‘an international centre for avant garde art form’.

“I was doing a particular type of sculptural work at that point, which was flat and went onto the wall so it wasn’t free standing. It did allude to 3D work, but they were flat objects,” said Mr Drew.

“I sent the gallery some slides of the work I was doing, knowing that it had a history of showing that type of work. I had a letter back from the director a few weeks later saying she was interested. I made a trip a few months later to Amsterdam to see her. I took a small portfolio to the gallery.

“She was a very abrupt, 70-year-old art dealer and she said ‘I like it. Leave them and in September we’ll make a small exhibition’. At that point I could have fallen through the floor because just to get a small showing was a big deal.”

Mr Drew’s show was so successful that by the first day all ten works being shown were sold.

Throughout the 1980s, he had yearly solo shows in the gallery and represented the centre at The Dutch Art Fair in 1986. In the early 90s, the gallery changed hands, marking the end of his stint there.

Mr Drew then moved to Mallorca and he and his wife returned to the UK in 2013, moving to Northumberland. 
He has exhibited at the Alnwick Playhouse’s Bondgate Gallery and has many projects in the pipeline. Now he will be adding the Alnmouth Arts Festival to his list.

Next year’s festival will feature a greater variety of art in the park, with more activities, music and food on offer.

Julia Wilson, from the committee, said: “The poster competition held by the Northumberland Gazette this year has seen a good number of entries with a high calibre of work. All of the judges enjoyed viewing the work.

“All of the entries brought something different and were able to capture the spirit of Alnmouth.

“There was much debate, but in the end a unanimous decision was reached in choosing the winning design. We are all delighted to present this work as the winning poster image of AAF 2016 as artist Peter Drew’s design is a striking composition with a unique presentation of Alnmouth.

“We very much look forward to working with Peter Drew and seeing more of his work.”

This year’s runnner-up is Alnmouth-based Viv Dykes. She will also be invited to host an exhibition. Anyone who would like to collect their entries should email michael.pearson@jpress.co.uk