BALLARAT artist Josh Muir admits he was reluctant to enter a new art prize for emerging artists in Melbourne.
The 20-year-old, who has overcome difficulties with addiction and mental health issues in recent years, thought the other entries by young artists would easily beat his bright and individual paintings.
A few weeks and a $4000 first prize later, he’s decided it was a pretty good decision for his career.
“When they told me to come down to Melbourne for the announcement I thought it might have been to meet them or whatever but then they announced me as the winner,” he said yesterday.
“It really was a last-minute thing but I just decided to go for it and now I am really happy.”
Muir was announced as the first place winner of the competition, sponsored by Jobco and VAEI, at a special ceremony in Brunswick two weeks ago. He also sold another artwork during the exhibition.
In April, his work was featured as part of a special exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat and two of his paintings depicting some of Ballarat’s best-known scenes in bright colours adorn the walls of Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight’s electorate office.
“I am trying to get a grant so I can hold an exhibition in Melbourne but there is still a bit of work to do on that,” he said.
Muir is steadily building a successful career as an artist and working part-time in Ballarat. After being treated in a Melbourne rehabilitation facility for addiction, he credits friends and supporters with helping him get his life back on track.
Muir hasn’t yet decided how to spend his prize money, other than a few essentials like a new PlayStation and some art supplies.