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Post Date

10 February 2015

BRILLIANT is Artichoke’s competition where anyone based in, or originally from the North East can turn their ideas into an artwork at Lumiere. Here’s a round up of some of the previous winners, and how BRILLIANT changed their lives.

Artichoke first launched BRILLIANT in 2011. We were overwhelmed with responses, from artists and designers, students and people who had never made anything before.

Mick Stephenson heard our call for ideas and says his life changed in a moment. A local builder based in Durham, he wanted to create something special for his home city. He won a BRILLIANT commission and so began six obsessive months developing Fusion (pictured).

Construction for the piece began in his living room, which he filled with the thousands of bottles that would make up his piece. It evolved and grew, until it was first switched on in Walkergate Corner in Durham. Mick described realising at that moment that it had taken on a life of its own.

Since then, Mick has continued to create light sculptures, and has had a number of exhibitions of his work. He says his studio is always ablaze with colour. He also was also part of  Lumiere 2013 in Durham. For Litre of Light (in partnership with the My Shelter Foundation) Mick once more created something astonishing with the humble plastic bottle. The piece highlighted a simple technology, bringing light to people without electricity using only a plastic bottle, water and sunlight.  

Beth Ross won a BRILLIANT commission the same year with I Haven't Changed my Mind in 1000 Years. She said ‘seeing it up during Lumiere was magical. It made me believe that what I am doing as an artist is valued and that it is possible to make those things in your head real’.

Since Lumiere, Beth has completed a Fine Art degree, exhibited all over the UK and been commissioned to make work for Stockton Borough Council and hAb arts in Manchester. She is looking forward to continuing her art practice in Vienna, Austria, and would like to do a PhD in fine art practice there. 

Stu Langley also won BRILLIANT in 2013, as one half of Twist Design. Their Stained Glass Cars transformed three Robin Reliant cars into a playful art piece.

Since then, they’ve taken the three-wheelers round the world, from Stockton to Singapore. Other commissions have included a window installation at Middlesbrough bus station, and VHS RIP, a series of crucifixes made from old video cases at Nuit Blanche in Brussels.

Stu is now a full-time artist, and says BRILLIANT gave him the confidence to pursue a career in the arts: ‘it does exactly what it says on the tin and provides a brilliant opportunity to anyone with a good idea to realise it with fantastic support and on the undeniably amazing stage that is Lumiere festival’.

Artichoke has launched BRILLIANT again for Lumiere in Durham this year, and entries have already started coming in. The closing date is the 23rd February. So if you’ve got an idea that could light up Lumiere, send it in. It might just be BRILLIANT…

Find out more here

Here's more pieces by Brilliant winners for inspiration.