Young Cornish Artists Exhibition and Competition at the Penwith Gallery

It’s a well-known fact that Cornwall is home to a huge number of artists, well established and novice alike. With the highest number of working artists outside of London it’s a hot spot for anyone with an interest in the subject.


A new generation of young Cornish artists has brought a fresh wave of talent to the region. The historic Penwith Gallery will be home to the St Ives School of Painting Young Cornish Artists exhibition from Friday 29th March to Saturday 6th April. Showcasing some of Cornwall’s up and coming talent after a lengthy, countrywide search for new and exciting young Cornish artists.


Everything from traditional painting to textiles and even video art was submitted after organisers tasked teenagers to challenge the concept of what drawing, and painting could be. Over a hundred 13-18 year olds let their creative side take over as they produced work of great quality despite their young age. The display is a fascinating insight into the lives of young people and how their day to day experiences shape their thinking and in turn, their art.

Young Cornish Artists

Cat Lee, the School of Painting’s Young Cornish Artist Coordinator said she had been “blown over by the scale of the talent” presented by the young artists.


So, what is it about Cornwall that breeds such exceptional artistic talent?


Firstly, the scenery in the region is quite simply breath-taking. Turquoise seas and dramatic coastlines are often thought of as only existing on tropical volcanic islands scattered over the Pacific Ocean. But a visit to Gwynver beach (an area of natural outstanding beauty that can only be reached by foot from a steep cliff path) proves that you don’t have to stray far from home to be deeply moved by the awesome, unstoppable power of nature. However, it’s not only the natural scenery that is inspiring to young Cornish artists.


Towns dotted throughout Cornwall have an idyllic quality one would expect to be at the epicentre of an Enid Blyton novel. The cobbled streets and quaint, independent shops and galleries in places like St Mawes seem almost too picture perfect to be real. Chalky white buildings brave the force of the sea and stand their ground along the hillside as boats come and go.


The ‘unique quality of light’ that Cornwall is renowned for is another reason the area is so inspiring to young artists. The unusual combination of local geography and the way in which different types of light interact with the human eye have inadvertently created a natural phenomenon that proves irresistible to artists. The light creates an atmosphere that no other region is lucky enough to possess, casting a glow across the already beautiful landscape and enchanting the hearts of those who visit. This light has been responsible for generations of artists and undoubtably plays a part in inspiring young people to create new art, whichever medium they chose.

Young Cornish Artists

Finally, and somewhat less tangibly, is the heritage and history of Cornwall itself. Growing up in an area bubbling with tradition must seep into the soul. More relics of the Neolithic and Bronze ages survive in Cornwall than any other part of mainland Britain and centuries old tales of smugglers, pirates and foreign invaders dapple the region’s narrative.


The history of art is also of obvious importance. Having art as part of everyday life opens the eyes of the younger generation. Whether it be walking past one of the many galleries somewhere like St Ives’, having a friend or relative working as an artist or simply seeing a local landmark transformed by the hands of a talented painter.


With the vast numbers of artists producing outstanding artwork all over Cornwall and the South West, scenery that could make anyone want to pick up a paintbrush and the bewitching glow of Cornwall’s natural light, it is easy to see why Cornwall’s next generation are so inspired.