London artist shortlisted in national design competition

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An up-and-coming artist at Wimbledon College of Art has been named as a finalist in a UK-wide art and design competition run by National Express.

Ben Watson is up against seven other finalists to win the chance of seeing his work come to life across the side of an iconic 14-metre-long National Express coach which will transport passengers around the country for an entire year.

Chris Hardy, Managing Director at National Express, said: “I am extremely pleased with the high standard of entries we have had in for this competition. Shortlisting them down to just eight was a tricky task.

“The online public vote is open until 15 July so we would encourage people to choose a favourite. This competition heavily supports our Youth Promise which we feel very passionately about. We are a big brand with a national reach, and we want to use this to give young talent a platform that they can be proud of.”

27-year-old Ben, who is originally from Warrington, said he was delighted to have been shortlisted by the UK’s largest coach operator: “It would be an amazing opportunity to win this competition. I see National Express coaches all the time when I’m on travelling back up north so to have my work displayed on one that millions of people would see would be a huge achievement.”

Artists were given free rein to showcase their individual styles in their entries, which were then whittled down to a final eight. The final designs are now open to a public vote on the National Express website which will close at midday on Monday 15 July.

Speaking of his design, Ben said: “I am a huge lover of animals and came up with the idea after watching Sir David Attenborough documentaries. All the animals illustrated in the work are endangered species due to the impact of human beings on this planet and I wanted to use the platform to send a message that by making some simple lifestyle changes we could do a lot of good.”

Ben is currently studying Fine Art Painting at Wimbledon College of Art whilst working full time in a restaurant. He has high hopes of pursuing a career in art full time: “I have been drawing and painting ever since I could pick up a pencil. As a child everyone would know to get me a blank piece of paper and some drawing apparatus just to keep me entertained, now I do it to escape the world and reflect. “

Along with the main prize, the artist with the most votes will also receive a free 12-month coach pass, £500, two tickets to Hampshire’s Boomtown Fair in August featuring artists including Lauryn Hill, The Streets, and Chase & Status, and a one-to-one development day with an established artist resulting in their work being showcased at this year’s High Vis Festival in Birmingham in September.

To vote for Ben’s Driving Design entry visit: www.nationalexpress.com/en/driving-design

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