Top honours for Cardiff Met staff and students at Art Challenge Wales


​Cardiff Met's Karen O'Shea takes first prize

Karen O'Shea's winning artwork - The people and coast of Porthcawl​.

TWO students from Cardiff Metropolitan University were award winners at this year's inaugural Art Challenge Wales event in Porthcawl.

Sixty five artists took part in the event which challenged them to produce a Porthcawl inspired masterpiece from a blank canvas in a single day. The artists were given the freedom to create their artwork within a day and to reflect the people and coastline of Porthcawl, Wales.

Karen O'Shea, who works in the Fovography research team at the University's Cardiff School of Art and Design and is also a student in the Cardiff School of Education, won the overall event for her art piece entitled 'The people and coast of Porthcawl'. Karen took objects washed up in the morning's tide - shells, seaweed and plastic which she embedded into handmade paper to create her finished artwork.

After being awarded a £500 prize for her winning entry, Karen said: "I'm incredibly happy to have won the overall event - there were lots of great pieces of art on display so to be recognised as the overall winner is wonderful.

"On the day of the competition, I arrived very early and went down to the sea front in wild and bracing wind to collect jetsam and flotsam from the beach and gathered objects from the pavements like ice cream spoons, cigarette packets and butts to embed into my handmade paper, which I coloured to suit the mood of the weather on the day.

Mixed media artist Karen launched as a professional artist just two months ago and has also been supported by the University's Centre for Student Entrepreneurship, which has provided her with one-to-one support from the Centre's Business Start-up Manager. Karen has also attended the centre's 'Create' workshops, which aim to help students launch and run their businesses.

Kate Evans, a student at the University's state of the art Cardiff School of Art and Design also won the People's Choice Award at the event for her 'I figured the donkeys deserved a day off' artwork. Her piece won most social media votes and Kate was awarded a £200 prize for her oil canvas artwork.

Both pieces go on show at Dyffryn House and Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan this Saturday 11 July for two weeks before being displayed in the Kooywood Gallery, in Cardiff from the beginning of August.

Art Challenge Wales was founded by Phillip Vaughan, a long-time Welsh art collector and Cardiff Art College and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama graduate. The event was also supported by Bridgend County Borough Council's Regeneration Projects Team with funding from the Welsh Government's Town Centre Partnership.

Speaking about the uniqueness of the event, Philip said: "While there are other Welsh art events, none are more immediate and challenging and rewarding as this one as you have to paint your picture in one day to have it judged the next so you really have to be focused.

"I would like to congratulate everyone who took part in the event.  I've been bowled over by the response and feedback I've received. To see people travel from all over Wales and as far as Bristol gives me confidence that we can make Art Challenge Wales a successful annual event."

Plans are already in place for the next Art Challenge Wales event in 2016 and a main aim is to double the number of entrants and prize money given next year. To find out more about the event you can visit the Art Challenge Wales website at