International recognition for fine arts students

A talented Northumbria University student known for her vibrant large-scale oil paintings has received the Fine Art Trade Guild’s Student Artist of the Year award.

Sophie Woodward, who is in her final year of the Fine Art BA (Hons) program at Northumbria, has been shortlisted for the international honor at the Guild’s Art and Framing Industry Awards 2022 held in Stratford upon Avon.

“I was encouraged to submit my work for the awards by one of my tutors,” explained Sophie, who said she was honored to be chosen as the overall winner. “All the staff have been extremely supportive and there to offer advice and encouragement, but otherwise let me take the lead in what I want to do with my job.”

The 22-year-old, who now plans to further her education with a postgraduate program at Northumbria, describes her preferred style of painting as ‘maximalist’. “I’ve tried lots of other things, including photography, but I always come back to painting,” says Sophie. “I loved Greek mythology as a kid and I’m really inspired by views of cities like Newcastle, so those things often feature in my work.”

Mark Rohtmaa-Jackson, Senior Lecturer and Module Tutor in the Fine Art BA (Hons) programme, congratulated Sophie on her award and explained what made her work stand out from the crowd: “Since I have known her, Sophie has developed a series of works that are both personal and intuitive, but which also manage to communicate the disparity between our perception of ourselves as bodies and the representation of these bodies in public space.

“Sophie’s paintings are pretty fearless things. They use bright colors against a backdrop of local newspapers, celebrating the local, but then you’re thrown into a series of disoriented, overlapping planes: cityscapes of Newcastle; a series of classical statues. These cities are inaccessible but extremely disorienting and there is warmth in the cold stone of these intertwined bodies.

The Student Artist of the Year award was created in 2015 inspired by successful international artist Jorge Aguilar-Agon, who wanted to encourage artists at the start of their careers. Sadly, Jorge passed away in 2020 and Sophie was presented with her award by her son and daughter, Daniel Aguilar and Salome Laschinger.

Louise Hay, Managing Director of the Fine Art Trade Guild, said: “This international prize recognizes the talent of a promising artist. The objective of the competition is to find a student who demonstrates talent and skill in traditional drawing, painting or working with mixed media. We are all looking forward to seeing Sophie’s career as an artist grow and wish her the best of luck with her degree.

Northumbria is home to a host of creative graduates who have honed their skills under the watchful eye of experts in their field, be they successful artists, filmmakers, creative professionals or designers and designers. revolutionary architects.

Sophie has exhibited her work on the university’s City campus as part of the annual REVEAL showcase, which sees degree shows held in May and June by students from programs including architecture, design, fashion, fine arts, media and new for this year – computer and information sciences.

“REVEAL is a very student-led event that provides hands-on experience in curating an exhibition, from working as a group curator to physically hanging paintings,” Sophie explained.

“Everyone is assigned a space to clean up and prepare for the arrival of visitors.”

Industry professionals, friends and family, staff, students and alumni are invited to view the innovative showcases in person, while all programs also feature student work through a broadcast online at, which will launch at 6 p.m. Thursday 16e June.

On-campus events began in May, with the Fine Art MA and Fine Art BA exhibitions wowing visitors to Gallery North, the University’s newly renovated exhibition space. Invitation-only launch parties for Animation and Film & TV students will take place at venues around the city, including the Tyneside Cinema.

On-campus events for the Architecture, Computer and Information Science, Design, and Fashion programs will launch on Thursday 16e June at 6 p.m. and until Saturday 25e June. These events are free and open to everyone.

Visit the REVEAL 2022 events page for details on locations and hours of operation.

Kayleen C. Rice