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Meet Judge & Curator Stephen Hobbs

Stephen Hobbs holds a dual role here at the PPC Imaginarium Awards - he is both a national judge and the curator of our travelling exhibition. We caught up with him to find out his thoughts on the 2019 round of the competition.


  1. You have been involved in PPC Imaginarium Awards for a long time - what do you enjoy most about your experience as a judge?

It’s a huge responsibility judging the work of mostly young and emerging artists. I remember well my formative years as a ‘young’ artist and competition work terrified me – to be frank, it still does. However, judging can be a highly subjective process, and the PPC Imaginarium Awards addresses this through a number of varying judges’ voices. The discussion and debate are always intense and rewarding. The final decision-making endeavors to be as measured as possible in relation to content and form, trends - past, present and future - and so forth. Hence, I enjoy the complexity of it all.


  1. Were there any pieces or themes that stood out for you in 2018? 

On the whole, the standard of work was solid, with the Jewellery Category remaining very strong. Chris Soal’s winning piece, while not necessarily an obvious Overall Winner in terms of aesthetics, was particularly astute in terms of a commentary on materiality in relation to politics.

PPC Imaginarium

  1. You have said that "too much momentary success can/will kill young talent" - how do you think artists can gauge their success in the industry? 

I think this is a personal issue for each and every artist. While ‘we’ aspire for fame and fortune, I believe we need to be honest with ourselves about where we are at, in terms of our individual goals as practitioners. To be publicly recognized along the way is very important, but maturation takes a long time, and sometimes money and media attention can dissuade one.


  1. What themes do you think will emerge in this year's PPC Imaginarium Awards? 

When Jewellery took the overall prize three years ago, this had an impact across the country to the extent that the following year there was a marked shift, both in terms of quantity and quality, and this is certainly an area for further creativity and innovation. Given that Sculpture won last year, this may send out a similar message.

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