Video and sculpture won the day for artists Alice Theobald and Coco Crampton, who each recently took home a cash prize as part of Hiscox’s sponsorship of the Royal Academy Schools. ‘This is the second year of our Royal Academy Schools sponsorship,’ says Whitney Hintz, Curator of the Hiscox Collection. ‘We set out last year to do something to directly support young artists and have already seen one of last year’s Royal Academy Schools Hiscox Scholarship winners - Prem Sahib - go on to have his work exhibited at the David Zwirner Gallery in London, one the of the world's leading galleries.
‘What’s so exciting about this prize is the chance to meet the students and seeing the award go directly to them, and then following their progress as they continue with their studies.’
The Royal Academy Schools Hiscox Scholarship involves an award of prizes to two second year students (enrolled on a three year course) and includes a bursary for the Royal Academy Schools as well as a cash element for the students themselves.
From left: Whitney Hintz, Curator of the Hiscox Collection, Coco Crampton, Robert Hiscox and Alice Theobold.
Commenting on the announcement of the prize winners, Whitney adds: ‘We were drawn to Coco's work because of her use of material and texture. I liked how she combined the rough and matt with the smooth and glossy, the craft-like knitted fabric with the cold yellow plastic. Each piece was very different but the overall presentation was well balanced and considered.
‘Alice's piece was ambitious in that it combined performance, video and sound. The artist starred in the piece and composed the musical score that accompanied the video. It was a humorous and brave work.’
Currently living in London, Coco followed her parents’ lead and attended art school, studying Fine Art Painting at the Norwich School of Art and Design. After graduating in 2005, she has taught and worked in galleries to support her practice, before beginning her further studies at the Royal Academy Schools.
Talking about what inspires her, Coco says: ‘I'm particularly interested in 20th century design movements, looking at different modes of production, materials and surfaces. Iconic designs often provide sources of inspiration from which I develop reinterpretations that explore altered appearances, showing a concern for the polarised relationship between tradition and the modern, their relative perceived values and questions of hierarchy.’
On winning the award she adds: ‘The Hiscox scholarship is a fantastic award which will help enormously in the production of new work in my third year at the Royal Academy. It will give me the opportunity to investigate new materials and ways of making which may otherwise have felt more limited. I'm really excited by the prospect of what will be achievable with the support of the Hiscox scholarship.’
Born in Leicester and currently living in Hackney in London, Alice studied for a BA in Fine Art and Contemporary Critical Studies at Goldsmiths 2004-2007. Attracted to the idea of performance since her childhood days, Alice says: ‘I found that art was a place where I could pursue these things in a more experimental and conceptual way, questioning the nature of performance with in its wider context. I am heavily inspired by cinema, film scores, music, performance and dance and how they differ within mainstream pop culture and DIY under-ground sub-cultures.
‘I make video, performance, installation and music that directly references the nature of their fabrication. Having a fascination with the social impact and performative vulnerability of representation through media and pop culture, I choose to use their visual language by way of demystifying them and challenging the push and pull of an audience's expectation.’
Alice adds that the Hiscox prize will: ‘Enable me to invest in some equipment that will go towards the making of my future videos and performances. Allowing me to both execute and document them in better quality and more efficient ways. It also means that I can afford to work less next year, leaving me more time to concentrate on my final year of studying at the Royal Academy Schools.’
The Royal Academy Schools
The Royal Academy Schools offers the UK's only three-year, full-time postgraduate fine arts course. Attracting applicants from across the world, the exhibiting students reflect the international reputation of the Schools and the creativity of its artists. With a total of 60 places available, the Schools present a wide range of opportunities such as tutorials and lectures given by leading figures in the art world, including Royal Academicians.
The Schools have been an integral part of the Royal Academy of Arts since its foundation in 1768. It is the country’s oldest art school. and it remains independent. Past students of the RA Schools include JMW Turner, William Blake and John Constable. More recent alumni include John Hoyland, Anthony Caro, Paul Huxley, Matthew Darbyshire, Tim Ellis, Rachael Champion, Toby Christian, Peter McDonald, Nick Goss, Hannah Sawtell, Pio Abad, Lucy Williams, amongst many others.