Omni Colour launches scheme to support artists

Darryl Danielli
Thursday, August 6, 2020

Fine art and out-of-home specialist Omni Colour has launched a competition to support artists who are struggling to produce work as a result of the pandemic.

Around 70% of the firm's work is for the art community
Around 70% of the firm's work is for the art community

The south east London business, Printweek’s reigning Out-of-home Printer of the Year, launched the Omni Artist Award at the start of August.

The scheme was the brainchild of Omni project managers Charlotte Bell and Rebecca Cooper, both former Goldsmiths art students.

The award offers four artists the opportunity to work with Omni to realise a digital-print-based project. As part of each prize, each artist will receive £1,000 of production support, covering materials and press time. The support can be used across any of the various methods of digital fine art print, direct print to media, wallpapers and vinyl that 15-staff Omni offers.

Managing director Bob Pain said the Southwark business started working with artists around 25 years ago, and now has leading institutions, independent galleries and artists on its client roster, with the art world now responsible for around 70% of its turnover.

“One minute you’re doing work for a student at the RCA and the next you’re doing work for them on their exhibition at the ICA,” he said.

“I don’t want it to sound too mushy, but we just thought about what we could do to remind people we’re alive and kicking and support the community that has supported us so well over the years, when many artists have had opportunities disrupted.”

The competition closes to entries on 1 September.

Each artist’s entry will consist of a 150-word summary outline of their current practice, a 250-word proposal broadly outlining how they would use the award and how it would benefit their practice and up to five digital images of their previous work.

More information can be obtained, including a guide on structuring the proposal, by emailing award@omnicolour.com with the words ‘Award Info’ in the subject line.

Final applications should be sent to the same address with ‘Award Application’ in the subject line.

To help inspire entrants, Omni is sending free sample packs of some of the materials it can print on to to those considering entering. Non-entering artists and corporate clients can also request samples by sending their postal address and contact details to the same email address.

According to Pain, while the award-winning business briefly paused production at the onset of lockdown, with its staff placed on furlough, by mid-April it was running a skeleton crew to support its corporate clients with social distancing graphics.

With galleries and museums starting to reopen, around 50% of its staff are now back at work as enquiries start to pick up.

“Most of the enquiries at the moment are from galleries, not necessarily for work next week, but upcoming projects,” said Pain.

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