I’ll be the first to admit that I’m quite torn about the Footlocker Art Prize. The prize of $50,001 makes it larger than one of Australia’s oldest and most prestigious art awards, the Archibald Prize (which has a prize of $50,000 – do you see what they’ve done there?!).
JF Archibald’s primary aims were to foster portraiture, support artists and perpetuate the memory of great Australians. The Footlocker Art Prize asks entrants to colour in one of eight shoe templates.
Footlocker says… “Our aim is to shake up the art world. This is a serious art prize, but it’s also a colouring competition so it’s wide open to street artists, fine artists, school kids and anyone who has ever lived and breathed sneakers. Anyone could win it.”
Kids get taught to colour-in from the earliest of ages. Parents should put a couple of shoe templates in front on their little Picassos and set them free. You never know, they just might win the prize and fund their entire education!
I’m not qualified to make a judgment on the rights and wrongs of the Footlocker Art Prize (nor do I want to be) but I will say that I think it is marketing genius. It also makes art accessible to the masses, and the prize will change the life of the lucky winner. Surely, these can only be good things for people with artistic aspirations?
The other side of the argument is far more complex and will most definitely involve a high horse…