Artist/lover kicks it for nation’s top prize

foot-1 - Lunchmag
'Forbidden fruit' ... a detail from the winning artwork

A 24-year-old American who followed his medical student girlfriend to Brisbane for love has taken out Australia’s richest art prize.

Foot Locker’s $50,001 Art Prize (a cheeky $1 more than the nation’s second richest prize, the coveted Archibald) was for Kalin Thompson’s rendition of a sneaker (Forbidden Fruit).

The pair flew down to Sydney from Brisbane for the awards and spent their first night in Sydney in a youth hostel.

After being presented with the giant novelty cheque, Thompson said the prize would enable him to continue to pursue his art.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to give someone. I’ve been blessed to be given this opportunity.”

“It’s amazing. It lets me be able to do what I want to do.

“I don’t have that much formal training so where I’ve got today has been from myself and pushing myself forward.

“This will give me the opportunity to sit and paint and improve. This will be my art school. ”

Thompson called on the organisers to continue to fund the prize next year. “Look at all the interest it has created,” he told Lunch Magazine.

He was awarded the prize at an exhibition of the 25 finalists on Thursday night in the home of the Archibald Prize – which was trumped by one dollar back in April this year with the launch of the Foot Locker Art Prize and consequently shook up the art world Down Under.

Labelled a ‘masterpiece’ by judges, Kalin’s ‘Forbidden Fruit’ acrylic painted entry featured the Nike Air Force 1 – one of eight shoe templates that were available to entrants, also including Converse, Puma and adidas – was created in 420 hours and features 190 tiny shoes and 60 shoeboxes.

Thew money Thompson earned for his dedication pencils out to around $123 an hour.

His artwork can be viewed here:

On winning both the major cash prize of $50,001 and the People’s Choice award for $1500, Kalin said: “I am absolutely blown away! It’s amazing to be recognised for something I love to do!

“I entered the Foot Locker Art Prize to show the world what I could do, and I can’t explain how much it means to not only receive this amazing cash prize, have my artwork exhibited in one of Australia’s most prestigious galleries but have my sneaker artwork recognised as a legitimate form of art by some of the industry’s most respected professionals.”

UK artist and Art Prize judge, Dave White, said of the winning artwork:

“When I first saw it, it really was outstanding. It really did shine. The level of detail immediately screamed out to me, but more importantly it really demonstrated an incredible skill set and it also showed a wonderful use of colour. But then the more you looked at this piece as a work of art, it really did start to unveil itself as something that had a really nice narrative behind it. And the more you got into it, you saw this really chaotic camouflage and you really started to appreciate the incredible level of detail.

“I think if Nike decided to release that it would stand up as a design on its own, but the more I looked at the depth of the piece, the more I saw the story behind it, it was quite a clever concept. It really was about embracing this competition fully, about using sneakers as a piece of art and as a platform to create something very original.”

The Foot Locker Art Prize: The World’s Richest Colouring Competition was open for three months and attracted over 6000 entries which were narrowed down to 20 Australian and five New Zealand finalists.

Jason Absolom from Tasmania was awarded the winner of the 13 and Under category –

Harvey Daines from New South Wales was crowned winner of the 18 and Under category –

The award’s organiser Phill Laing the managing director for Foot Locker Asia Pacific told Lunch Magazine that there were no plans to make the award an annual event.

“We’re not sure it started as an out of the box idea. It could become an event,” he told Lunch Magazine.

‘”It brings art and culture together through sneaker life,” Mr Laing told Lunch Magazine.

“It shows sneakers can be art too.”

Jonathan Porter

‘Forbidden fruit’ … a detail from the winning artwork


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