Simona de Leo

Catching up with Past Prize Winners

We got in touch with some artists who have won our prizes to see how it helped them to progress and develop their practice. Here you can see what they had to say!

Please introduce yourself and tell us about the prize you won from GreatArt:

My name is Simona De Leo, I’m originally from Puglia,  the heel of Italy.

From my very first memory I remember myself with a brush or a pencil in my hand, playing with oil colors rather than toys. I have a BA degree in comics and illustration gained in Italy (Bologna) and I love children’s books. I won the “draw the Big Draw Logo competition” and £250 voucher for GreatArt materials.

© Alexander Vinokurov https://www.facebook.com/alexander.vinokurov.75

Do you remember how you felt when you found out you’d won?

I felt quite surprised as I knew that the contest could be very competitive, but I tried because I wanted to draw and as my friend always says: “if you don’t try, you never know”.

How did you spend your prize vouchers?

I bought loads of art materials which was such a good thing for me!

When I moved from Italy to London I had to leave everything behind, I came with a 20kg luggage and that’s it. I had to re-start everything from scratch, so for the first year I only drew digital or using limited materials and little sketchbooks.  This prize gave me the opportunity to re-build my art material collection, watercolors, ink, brushes etc… as well as explore new materials and techniques too.

How would you say winning the prize has benefited your work?

Obviously, winning the competition gave me more strength and desire to draw more. The prize gave me the possibility to explore new materials and realize my first exhibition in London which took place this February at  The Gallery Café in Bethnal Green.

Here you can see the photo gallery : https://www.simonadeleo.com/personal-projects

What are you currently working on?

I can say that I’m fully engaged with Illustration and Art again.  I’m currently improving my Graphic design skills with a part time class and I’m about to start a MA Illustration at Kingston University in September.

After the exhibition my next personal project is a picture book for children with the little “Mr. Wompls” a character I created, which you can see here: https://goo.gl/D8OjOc

Do you have any advice for artists when it comes to competitions?

My advice is to participate in competitions  because it is a good way to get noticed, improve your portfolio and challenge yourself,  but above all  it’s about having fun and draw more and more!

You can see more of Simona’s work on her website www.simonadeleo.com

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