Two local artists – one from Hibiscus Coast and the other from Warkworth – are finalists in the 2020 Parkin Drawing Prize, one of NZ’s most prestigious art events.
Artworks by Mia Wilson, of Stanmore Bay, and Merythr Ruxton, of Warkworth, were among the 76 selected from nearly 500 entries. The winner, who will receive $25,000, will be announced by the head of art at Te Papa Tongarewa, Charlotte Davy, on August 3.
Mia describes being shortlisted as “a huge honour”. Her painting Leaving Home, using acrylic and oil pastels, was finished on the eve of moving house the day before lockdown.
“I’ve entered the Parkin before, but this is the first time I’ve been shortlisted,” she says. “It’s fascinating what gets into the Parkin awards as the artwork is so diverse.”
Although Mia has enjoyed painting for as long as she can remember, it wasn’t until she was studying for a social policy degree at Massey University that the desire to paint became impossible to ignore.
“I picked up a paint brush that I didn’t even know I had in the house and just started. That was seven years ago and I haven’t really stopped since. I never finished the degree and now I paint all the time – it’s a compulsion, a passion and gives me a lot of pleasure.”
Mia describes her work as eclectic. She paints in many different mediums influenced by painters such a Klimt, Picasso, Joni Mitchell and Lee Krasner. In 2015 she took what she describes as a ‘sharp turn’ and started doing abstracts.
“I still do landscapes and figurative work, but the majority of what I do now is abstract painting.”
Mia was a finalist in last year’s Hibiscus & Bays Art Awards and the Cliftons Art Awards, and has shown her work at Estuary Arts.