A level arts students are a hit with London law firm

London law firm

On Thursday 26 June, 15 talented A Level students, from the Sixth Form College, saw their work exhibited at the London headquarters of global law firm Charles Russell Speechlys, as the shortlisted finalists of our annual Visual Arts competition.

As well as seeing their creations framed and hung in the Charles Russell Speechlys corporate headquarters (where they will be on display to the firm’s clients for the next year), they also had their work judged by the globally famed artistic duo Langlands & Bell, Suzanne Marriott from Charles Russell Speechlys and Peter Murray, Director of City & Islington’s Sixth Form College.

The students are studying a range of different subjects including Art, Film, Photography, Media, Art: Critical and Contextual Studies and Maths. Entries came from artists in years 12 and 13, so, for our older students, being shortlisted marks the end of their time at City & Islington College, while the year 12 artists and photographers will have the chance to enter again next year to compete for the top prize.

One such student is Harry O’Connell, who is studying A Levels in Film, Media and Photography. He said of his entry, from a series of photos titled ‘All The Pretty Lights’: “The competition theme was energy and at first I thought about doing something abstract. But then I thought, ‘Hold on, how about capturing energy in a more everyday form?’ Lightbulbs encapsulate this perfectly for me because we use them all the time without much thought of the energy that runs through them.”

Year 13 student Jokubas Vaicekauskas, has just completed his A levels in Fine art; Art: Critical and Contextual Studies; and Photography. He submitted two pieces to the competition – including the stunning winning piece – and told us about how he made it.

Jokubas Vaicekauskas’ winning piece

“I went down to the Thames at Canary Wharf during a low tide and collected all the manmade objects I could find.” He said. “I photographed them and, in Photoshop, turned them into more simple forms – bringing energy back to them and converting them from trash into objects of beauty and interest.”

The judges were unanimous in selecting Jokubas’s piece of digital fine art as the winner, and as well as a cash prize, Charles Russell Speechlys want to buy it, to add to their permanent collection.

Jokubas has completed his studies at City and Islington and, fresh from his success in the competition, is off to the London College of Communication to study illustration.

Heather Maizels, Senior Advisor to Charles Russell Speechlys and Curator of their Art collection, said‎:

“Jokubas deserves the recognition of Langlands & Bell in awarding him the 1st prize in our third annual student art competition, having selected one of his two pieces from an exceptional group of entries. 

“We are delighted to bring the energy and creativity of all the finalists to our international clients and employees by showing their works for a year in our London headquarters. We strongly believe in sharing our connections and space to encourage and promote young artistic talent within our local community. 

“It was wonderful to meet the artists and to learn about their pieces. We look forward to following their individual journeys and bringing further support and encouragement to them.”

Joanne Bishop, Head of Careers at City and Islington Sixth Form College, has nurtured and managed the college’s relationship with Charles Russell Speechlys for a number of years now. She told us: “Every year, some of our A level students come to Charles Russell Speechlys to do 2-week work experience placements and about 3 years ago, we started working with the firm on the art competition.

“This is the third year we and Charles Russell Speechlys have run the competition and it has been great to come here to see the shortlisted pieces in all their glory and celebrate with the students and our friends at Charles Russells Speechlys.”

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