David Piddock’s controversial paintings win Moth Art Prize

David Piddock, a British artist whose work is widely collected and in public collections including the Museum of London, has won the inaugural Moth Art Prize, run by the art and literature magazine The Moth.


Piddock was invited to exhibit in the public areas of the Lloyd’ s Register Building in the City of London last year, but the paintings he submitted were deemed too risqué, in a case of censorship so absurd it found its way into the UK’ s satirical magazine Private Eye. ‘ All the paintings deemed to be at risk of offending “multicultural sensitivities” featured, as classical sculptures are wont to, naked or scantily draped male figures,’ reported Private Eye.

It was shortly after this debacle that David noticed The Moth was launching its first art prize. ‘ So I thought, why not enter all the “banned” works?! I was absolutely delighted when they won.’ Piddock delights in ignoring current fashions in contemporary art. Most of the works submitted to The Moth Art Prize were a semi-fictional take on London. Imagery is often plundered from the past to inform the present, so anything from a small terracotta maquette to a monumental Canova sculpture might materialise in unexpected places, like London’ s Embankment or the riverside adjacent to the City.

Piddock’ s work entitled Triton at Jubilee Bridge adorns the cover of the autumn issue of The Moth, while other works, including the wonderfully titled Why, Brad, darling, this painting is a masterpiece! appear inside its pages.

‘ A lot of credit should go to The Moth, always wonderfully idiosyncratic and beautifully designed, for launching the prize and responding to figurative painting, largely ignored by the contemporary art scene,’ says Piddock. ‘ We have nothing like it in the UK.’ David will spend a month at The Moth’ s new residential studio in a converted barn in rural Cavan in Ireland, surrounded by the county’ s famous lakes.He will also receive a €1,000 travel stipend.

Work by Anna Evans, who is beginning her final year on a scholarship at The Florence Academy in Italy, and Sarah Leonard, who is working on a portraiture project involving refugees and asylum seekers in Glasgow, was also commended in this year’ s Moth Art Prize and will feature in forthcoming issues.

The Moth Art Prize, which opens again shortly, is awarded to a body of up to ten pieces of figurative or representational work, and is open to anyone over the age of 18. Details can be found at www.themothmagazine.com.

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