The Guide Awards: Special Achievement AND Best Visual Artist winner, Pete Codling

A fixture in the Portsmouth art world for the past 25 years, Pete achieved a rare Guide Awards double when he won Best Visual Artist and then the Special Achievement trophy, which is given to someone judged to have made a significant contribution to the region’s cultural scene.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 5:23 pm
Updated Friday, 31st January 2020, 11:29 am
From left: Chief executive of the Kings Theatre, Paul Woolf, Pete Codling with his Best Visual Arts award, director of Aspex Gallery Jo Bushnell, and Jack Edwards. Picture: Sarah Standing (270120-6024)

After receiving the first award, Pete said: ‘It's been a very long and special year.

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‘The picture is always worth 1,000 words and that's what I do. It's out there – the sculptures are out there, the drawings are out there. I think 2020 is going to be really exciting too, there's lots of stuff going on.

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‘This last year has given me a chance to dive really deep into Portsmouth, certainly in terms of The Solent with the Soup of Souls, but also with the Treadgold Fish, the Naivety drawings, and the huge footfalls that they’ve all created at the exhibitions, and to bring discussion about visual arts, fine art, about community engagement, history, narrative stories – it's just been amazing.

‘To get a pat on the back at the end of this, it gives you some impetus and momentum for the next year.’

When he won the latter, a clearly moved Pete added: ‘I’m lost for words, and that’s why I do pictures, I guess!’

And he acknowledged the other artists in the city: ‘We don't have a stage as visual artists – we don't have necessarily that journey in the profession and the acknowledgements that go with it. Our path is a lot more vocational than that.

‘It's not about the rewards in terms of public glory, although this was wonderfully received and most appreciated, but most of us just work, beavering away quietly in our own studios, doing our own thing.

‘So, for all of you: keep doing it. Keep it going. Don't give up. There’s always, always, always another idea, another inspiration.’

A fixture in the Portsmouth art world for the past 25 years, Pete achieved a rare Guide Awards double when he won Best Visual Artist and the Special Achievement trophy, which is given to someone judged to have made a significant contribution to the region’s cultural scene.

After receiving the first award, Pete said: ‘It's been a very long and special year.

‘The picture is always worth 1,000 words and that's what I do. It's out there – the sculptures are out there, the drawings are out there. I think 2020 is going to be really exciting too, there's lots of stuff going on.

‘This last year has given me a chance to dive really deep into Portsmouth, certainly in terms of The Solent with the Soup of Souls, but also with the Treadgold Fish, the Naivety drawings, and the huge footfalls that they’ve all created at the exhibitions, and to bring discussion about visual arts, fine art, about community engagement, history, narrative stories – it's just been amazing.

‘To get a pat on the back at the end of this, it gives you some impetus and momentum for the next year.’

When he won the latter, a clearly moved Pete added: ‘I’m lost for words, and that’s why I do pictures, I guess!’

And he acknowledged the other artists in the city: ‘We don't have a stage as visual artists – we don't have necessarily that journey in the profession and the acknowledgements that go with it. Our path is a lot more vocational than that.

‘It's not about the rewards in terms of public glory, although this was wonderfully received and most appreciated, but most of us just work, beavering away quietly in our own studios, doing our own thing.

‘So, for all of you: keep doing it. Keep it going. Don't give up. There’s always, always, always another idea, another inspiration.’

In the citation for the Special Achievement, Jo Bushnell, director of Apex Gallery, said: ‘Pete Codling is an extremely deserving recipient of this award.

‘His contribution to the creative and cultural life of Portsmouth over more than 25 years has been outstanding.

‘Many will have interacted with his public artwork without even realising, finding one of his One Million Pebbles on Southsea beach, walking through a set of gates or sitting on street furniture in the city centre.

‘A highly skilled draughtsman, his drawings are outstanding, best represented last year in the stunning installation Soup of Souls, made specifically in response to Portsmouth Cathedral, during his residency in its hermitage.

‘Pete is representative of the creative energy and talent we have in spades in this city.’