Self-portrait wins top prize in Texaco art competition

Monaghan student Frances Treanor’s ballpoint pen artwork ‘powerful’ says judge

21 finalists have been whittled down from thousands in the Texaco Children's Art Competition. The works will remain on exhibition at Dublin City Gallery Hugh Lane until Sunday, 31st May. Video: Enda O'Dowd


A self-portrait drawn with a ballpoint pen has taken the top prize at this year’s Texaco Children’s Art Competition.

Frances Treanor (18), from Tydavnet, Co Monaghan, a first-year fine art student at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), won the first prize of €1,500 in category A (16 to 18-year-olds) for her drawing, Self Portrait.

Judging panel chairman Prof Declan McGonagle called it a very powerful work drawn with the skill and delicacy of a master.

“[It is] a fantastically realised self-portrait, with a very intense stare . . . It is a delicate use of the medium. Nearly every single strand of hair is represented,” Prof McGonagle, who is the director of NCAD, said.

It is the third time Ms Treanor has entered the competition. She won second place in her age category in 2012, and last year her entry was selected for the Texaco Art Competition calendar.

The 21 top prize winners across seven categories were announced at the Hugh Lane gallery in Dublin. Another 105 artists won special merit awards. The winners, ranging in age from five to 18, were chosen from 30,000 entries.

The competition, now in its 61st year, is the longest sustained sponsorship of art in Ireland.

“Each of you have achieved a very high standard, and you should be very proud of yourselves. I’d like to recognise the support that you received from your families, from your teachers and from the wider school community. And I’d like to acknowledge their commitment and encouragement that has helped to keep our competition so vibrant since 1955,” said Valero Ireland director James Twohig. The company markets fuel in Ireland under the Texaco brand.

This year, for the first time, one of the winning entries was made using digital technology. Oliwia Widuto (16), a student at Loreto College in Coleraine, Co Derry, won the top category’s second prize of €1,000 for her work Gramps on Morphine.

“It doesn’t look like a digital work. It looks like a traditional work, but it’s done entirely through digital technology. It is a different kind of skill altogether, which is amazing as well,” Prof McGonagle said.

The winners will receive their awards at a ceremony in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin next month.

The 21 top prize-winning pieces will remain on display upstairs in the Hugh Lane until Sunday, May 31st.

In August, all 126 pieces will be on display in the Cork Vision Centre in Cork city and in the Highlanes Art Gallery in Drogheda.

Results: Overall winner: Frances Treanor, St Louis Secondary School, Monaghan

Age 16-18 : 1st, Frances Treanor; 2nd, Oliwia Widuto, Loreto College Coleraine; 3rd, Janné Strydom, Gorey Community School

Age 14-15: 1st, Vitaly Dergachev, Wesley College, Ballinteer; 2nd, Lucy Deegan, Gaelcholáiste Cheatharlach, Carlow; 3rd, Cliona Fitzpatrick, Malahide Community School

Age 12-13: 1st, Nicole Forster, Wilson’s Hospital Secondary School, Multyfarnham; 2nd, Sadhbh Simpson, Loreto Dalkey Primary School; 3rd, Ethan Cheung, Bangor Grammar School

Age 9-11: 1st, Stephen Walsh, Ratoath Senior National School; 2nd, Orla Nolan, Newtown Dunleckney National School, Bagenalstown; 3rd, Charvi Goyal, Loreto Primary School, Rathfarnham, Dublin

Age 7-8 years: 1st, Laoise McDonald, The Paint Box, Barna, Co Galway; 2nd, Pippa McIntosh, Kinsale Art Academy; 3rd, Sophia Goodman, Scoil Naoimh Éanna, Carrickmacross

6 years and younger: 1st, Ciara Ward, St Malachy’s Primary School, Castlewellan; 2nd, Sean O’Reilly, St Anthony’s Boys National School, Ballinlough, Co Cork; 3rd, Poppy Love, Hansfield Educate Together National School, Huntsfield, Dublin

Children with special needs: 1st, Conor Marley, St Gerard’s School and Support Services, Belfast; 2nd, Róisín Murray, St Michael’s School Holy Angels, Chapelizod; 3rd, Michael Ahern, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Ballincollig, Co Cork