School coursework wins National Open Art competition

A piece of A-level coursework has won top prize in a national open art competition. Kaye Song’s oil painting Asleep, of a close friend at rest in her bedroom, beat hundreds of artworks by professional and amateur artists in a public vote.

The winning entry by Kate Song titled Asleep

Kaye's schoolwork will now be exhibited at National Open Art's prestigious Winter Exhibition at the Royal College of Art next month, after winning the lion's share of 11,000 votes cast. It's the first time the pupil has entered an art competition.

I wanted to capture the quiet intimacy of someone asleep, wrapped in their duvet, and asked my friend to pose for me

Unsurprisingly, she got an A* in the exam and will now go on to study Architecture at the University of Cambridge.

She said: “I never thought I would get this far. The main thing spurring me on was the idea of exhibiting at the Royal College of Art, it’s such an amazing opportunity. I would definitely encourage others to enter next year, you’ve got nothing to lose and you might just end up surprising yourself.”

The 18-year-old from London created Asleep for her final art A-level project, which asked students to create art under the theme ‘wrapped’.

Kaye said: “I wanted to capture the quiet intimacy of someone asleep, wrapped in their duvet, and asked my friend to pose for me. I took a lot of photos of her then spent two or three days painting. I love the process of painting so much, I can spend ages doing it."

It will appear alongside 134 artworks that have been selected from the competition’s 500-strong longlist by the competition's expert judging panel.

After Gericault: the journey from Romanticism to Classicism, a painting by Patrick Blower, a political cartoonist for the Guardian, the Sunday Times and Private Eye amongst others, came second in the World Vote.

Empire State of Mind, a pen drawing of the New York cityscape by 18-year-old student Phoebe Atkey from Dorset, came third.

Patrick Blower's painting took second place
Phoebe Atkey took third place with her drawing of the Manhattan skyline