/ Sasol New Signatures Art Competition
Previous winners tips
Being the longest running competition of its kind in South Africa, Sasol New Signatures has over the years provided a platform for unknown artists to break into the mainstream. The competition has produced 30 years of deserving winners, many of whom are now household names in the South African and global art world. We engaged with a few of the recent winners to get their tips to entering the competition, best advice they received and of course how the competition helped them further their career.
Ingrid Bolton – Winner 2012
Best piece of advice you were given in terms of furthering your artistic career. The best piece of advice that I received was from myself. At some point I found that if I wanted to be taken seriously in the art space, I needed to take myself seriously and study. I went on to do my degree through Unisa and my Masters through UCT. A journey that I have never regretted.
What tips would you give aspiring artists wanting to submit work to the competition. Don't create art that you think the judges would be looking for. Make art that comes from you, what do you feel passionately about? What makes you angry/sad/elated? Take those emotions and turn them into artworks.
What role has the competition played in your current success/career. Winning the Sasol New Signatures definitely gave me more exposure and a visibility that I would not have achieved on my own. The ability to create work for a solo exhibition held at the Pretoria Art Museum was an honour and a privilege. I will cherish the experience, and those memories will stay with me for my lifetime.
Lebohang Kganye - Winner 2017
Best piece of advice you were given in terms of furthering your artistic career. Work consistently, explore new ways of making/creating. I believe in mentorship and learning from others artists (peers and older),
What tips would you give aspiring artists wanting to submit work to the competition. Work on the application early and study previous winners works. The quality of the work is important but also don’t forget the overall presentation of the work such as framing and hanging.
What role has the competition played in your current success/career. It gave me visibility in South Africa and I used the R100 000 prize money as a production grant to produce a new work.
Sthenjwa Luthuli – Runner up 2017
What tips would you give aspiring artists wanting to submit work to the competition. Work hard and believe in everything that you do. These are the kind of platforms that help to reach your goals. It is very important to have your own voice in order to have the audience want to continue seeing your work and follow your career going forward.
Zyma Amien – winner 2016
Best piece of advice you were given in terms of furthering your artistic career. Never give up. Enter each and every competition, not only for winning, but to get your name out there. Always try your best.
What role has the competition played in your current success/career. I met new people and made great contacts. It opened doors that I could not imagine. Also the fact that Sasol New Signatures is on my CV, is really fantastic. It’s a wonderful door opener. So enter!!!
Nelmarie du Preez – winner 2015
Best piece of advice you were given in terms of furthering your artistic career. When I was still a student and an aspiring artist a mentor told me to APPLY, APPLY, APPLY! In other words, submit your work to competitions and opportunities to exhibit as often as possible. Treat it as if it is part of your ‘job-description’. Make sure that you find reputable organisations that provide exhibition and residency open calls as well as competition entry calls. The experience of being rejected and eventually accepted provides such a rich learning experience about the inner-workings of the art world and will help you grow not only as an artist but as a human. Be open-minded and learn to manage your expectations.
What role has the competition played in your current success/career.
One of the biggest impacts that the competition had on me was that I had the pleasure of exhibiting alongside some of the brightest talents in the world, such as Bronwyn Katz and Sethembile Msezane, whose work I still reference whenever I am asked to speak about art. The competition is not only a place to show your own work, but experience the depth of the growing South African art scene. It provides a glimpse into a future full of talented artists who might just become your inspiration one day.
Luyanda Zindela – Runner up 2019
Best piece of advice you were given in terms of furthering your artistic career.
In a career field where everyone is talented, what will set you apart isn't always going to be talent, it will be a consistent work ethic and professional. Talent might get you through the door, but professionalism is what will keep you in the room.
What tips would you give aspiring artists wanting to submit work to the competition.
Start working on the submission well in advance, months prior to the submission date. The judges are professional artists and working creatives in the arts, they can see when a submission is rushed, when corners have been cut and when an artistic idea hasn't been fully thought out. Give yourself the best chance of making work at the quality standard that you want by starting early.