Secret Art Prize 2018 Announces Winners

The 4th annual Secret Art Prize announced it’s winners at an awards ceremony at the Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch. Managed by the Curious Duke Gallery and this time hosted by our good selves here at Inspiring City. The prize has become a key event in the London art calendar.

Ultimately chosen by a panel of ten judges, a shortlist of 21 was compiled from a field of hundreds. The top five entrants of four runners up and a winner were then whittled down in a process taking over three months.

Curious Duke Secret Art Prize 2018
The winners from the Curious Duke Gallery’s Secret Art Prize 2018. From left are Sr. X, Later Ago, Michelle Lua Kum Cheung, Eleni Duke, Evi Antonio, Kelly Jenkins and Stuart Holdsworth from Inspiring City

The event featured a panel discussion with Eleni Duke, the founder of the Curious Duke, Tabish Khan, the chief art critic for the Londonist and fine artist Andrea Tyrimos. The panel discussed topics such as what to look for in a piece of are, the importance of building relationships and how to market your work. This being prior to announcing the results.


Topping the list was Australian artist Michelle Loa Kum Cheung. Mainly using wood as a canvas she uses pyrography as a technique from which to create her landscapes. The art of burning into wood she will then apply other materials in order to give the wood and the image, extra colour and dimension.

Michelle Lua Kum Cheung Secret Art Prize
Imagined landscape using pyrographic techniques from Michelle Lua Kum Cheung


The runners-up included Kelly Jenkins, an artist who uses knitting and embroidery as well as more traditional oil painting in her work. The work that caught the eye of the judges being a kind of knitted top shelf magazine aimed at those with fetishes for the woolen art form. Very random but hugely original.

Knit Uncensored Kelly Jenkins secret art prize
Knit Uncensored, a knitted top shelf lads mag by Kelly Jenkins

Evi Antonio whose incredibly detailed paintings of the natural world are created using a combination of digital and traditional oil glazing techniques. Initially training as a scientific natural history illustrator she was inspired by 19th century lithograph plates and the hand coloured engravings which were used to document the scientific discoveries of the era.

Evi Antonio secret art prize
Digital and hand finished imagery featuring the natural world and an urban backdrop by Evi Antonio

Sr. X, is an artist whose street art we’ve featured a number of times on Inspiring City and whose satirical look at life draws inspiration from 50’s imagery. Using a combination of transfer, stencil and freehand he transforms those often twee pop images to reveal the dark underbelly of a different world underneath. We interviewed Sr. X in 2016 and you can read that here. We also included him in our list of the British Based Street Artists.

Sr X Buy Shit if it Feels Good Secret Art Prize
‘Buy Shit if it Feels Good’ from Sr. X an artist known for his satirical take on 50’s imagery

Later Ago is a photographer who digitally manipulates her images and then uses cyanotype printing techniques to create graphic and abstract images. The cyanotype creates a blue hued print which gives an otherworldly effect creating blueprints of the original image. Known too for her screen printing she will use the same digital techniques to manipulate before then producing the work using screen printing techniques.

Later Ago secret art prize
Digitally altered photograph produced using cyanotype printing techniques from Later Ago

The Secret Art Prize is an annual art competition hosted by the Curious Duke Gallery. The award ceremony took place on 8 August 2018 at the Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch. It was hosted by ourselves at Inspiring City.

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