A local artist has been nominated for the King Lear Prizes’ ‘Chairman’s Prize’ after he donated artworks to Launceston Leisure Centre. 

Robert Crowther is a local artist, published author and illustrator who specialises in pop-up books and has been creating art for nearly 45 years. Earlier this year he donated two, specially designed canvases to Launceston Leisure Centre after it was saved.

Now, Robert has been shortlisted for a special award for one of the pieces he created. 

‘A Smaller Splash’, one of the pieces which now decorates the walls at Launceston Leisure Centre, was created in homage to David Hockney’s ‘A Bigger Splash’ and is the piece Robert has now been nominated for. 

Robert told the Post: “I love David Hockney’s work and his Californian pool paintings in particular, I was keen to try using flat colours in his style. The painting took five or six weeks to complete using acrylics, when finished, I thought cheekily the title should be ‘A Smaller Splash’ in homage to Hockney.”

Initially conceived to help older people who were stuck at home in the midsts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the King Lear Prizes hope to encourage people to get involved in art. Although no longer in the pandemic, the competition continues to encourage those over 60 to learn new skills.  

“I heard from King Lear Prizes in October that I had been shortlisted for the Chairman’s Prize. I was in the final seven nominees out of over a thousand entries for that particular prize. I was up against writers, poets, another artist and the ultimate winner, a playwright,” said Robert. “I’ve only been painting seriously this year so it felt a great encouragement and confidence boost to be shortlisted for the prize. I’ve spent the last 40 years designing and illustrating pop-up books for children but I’ve always had the desire to paint more.”

Robert says that the nomination has been made even better by the fact the art was donated after the leisure centre had been saved.

He added: “It does feel special to have a painting displayed in the leisure centre prominently where it can be enjoyed by the participants and the feedback has been great so far according to the staff. I like that my contribution to the centre has made use of my artistic talents.” 

Since the painting was completed, Robert has continued to explore his new found talent.

“I have just started a different type of painting based around a song by the folk band Show of Hands”, he said. 

Robert can be found on Instagram @robertcrowtherart