Ronnie Wood describes himself as “an artist who plays the guitar, inspired by Mucha to Rembrandt and everything in between”. For the last three years he has been the patron of National Open Art, a charity that exists to support the brightest emerging artists from across the UK and Ireland through its annual competition.
From humble beginnings 20-years-ago, NOA has grown into one of the UK’s premier art events, embraced by the industry and public alike. Every year, thousands of visitors stop by NOA’s acclaimed Winter Exhibition, and the competition, which opened to entries this month, is now widely recognised as a leading platform for both emerging and professional artists to exhibit, sell and promote their work.
Ronnie, who went to Ealing College of Art before his musical career took off, has seen his artwork widely exhibited throughout the world. In 1996 he had a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Sao Paulo, Brazil and has had numerous one-man exhibitions in North and South America, Asia and Europe.
The late, great Maurice Cockrill, Keeper and Head of Schools at the Royal Academy, first introduced Ronnie to NOA in 2012, since which his involvement with the charity has deepened. He now regularly buys works from NOA’s Winter Exhibition for his private collection and provides an artwork as a competition prize. “I’m honoured to be a part of National Open Art,” Ronnie told reporters last year when opening NOA15’s Winter Exhibition at the Royal College of Art. “Being their patron is exciting; there’s some good work here, there always is. There’s some great talent around, young and old, and it’s good to discover it and keep it turning over…I often paint to music and play guitar to paintings. As soon as we stop touring I go into painting mode and your life goes by like that. It just keeps the world spinning nicely.”
Last year, a bronze rhino sculptured by Ronnie was awarded to fine artist Reginald S Aloysius alongside £60,000-worth of prize money and awards given to painters, photographers, sculptors, printers, illustrators and film makers who enter the competition every year.
With NOA16 now open for entries and judges including the RA’s David Remfry, Vogue’s Robin Muir and the Tate’s Fiona Kingsman announced, who will grace the walls of this year’s Winter Exhibition at London’s historic Mercer’s Hall remains to be seen. One thing is for certain, with a Rolling Stone as its Patron, not to mention Gavin Turk as its Vice President, NOA’s mission to nourish the extraordinary rich diversity of Britain’s contemporary art world shows no signs of abating. May the competition enjoy another 20 creative years – and then some – to come.
NOA16 is open for entries now until midnight on 10 July 2016. Finalists will be announced in September, and the winners revealed at NOA16’s private view on 27 October. Entry costs £20 per adult entry, £5 per child entry.
For more information visit www.thenationalopenartcompetition.com.