Shannon Smiley wins Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize People’s Choice Award

17 June 2015

Shannon Smiley has taken out the People’s Choice Award in the inaugural Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize.

Smiley’s work Descent 2014 (oil on canvas) received the most votes from the 1200 visitors to an exhibition of works by the 33 finalists at The Gallery @ Bayside Arts and Culture Centre.

Smiley created the work while he was in residence as part of Council’s Artist in Residence program at Billilla Mansion.

Bayside Mayor, Cr Felicity Frederico, said the Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize supports creativity and artistic innovation.

“This exhibition has provided a unique opportunity for people all over Melbourne to experience outstanding contemporary paintings by Australian artists inside Bayside’s premier gallery space.

“We thank everyone who attended the exhibition and voted for their favourite painting. Our investment in this inaugural exhibition further supports Council’s goal to have a creative community, and increase their participation in and appreciation for our local arts and culture.

“The voting element of the prize proved popular with visitors to the exhibition, as they stayed longer and really took their time to appreciate and consider the meaning of each work to them,” the Mayor said.

Smiley will receive $1,000 as the Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize People’s Choice Award Winner.

When describing his work Smiley said: “This piece shows a downhill sloping landscape viewed from below and looking up towards an unseen urban road. I came across this place in search of a chance meeting with nature, wild and untamed in an urban context. I have a rather romantic notion that these places present to the perceiver a sense of freedom, exaggerated because such finds are limited by improbability.

“I explore the city and surrounding suburbs and take photographs and produce drawings. I then spend time analysing the material and compose a drawing on the canvas, then using photos as reference, execute the painting. Working in the tradition of landscape painting, my subject is the urban and suburban environment around me,” said Smiley.

A graduate from the Victorian College of the Arts, Smiley completed a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) in 2007. In 2012 Smiley exhibited in the Melbourne Art Fair with Hill Smith Gallery; he was a finalist in the Metro Art Award; won the John Leslie Art Prize in 2014 for landscape; and more recently was a semi-finalist in the Doug Moran Portrait Prize.

In its first year, the Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize major prize of $15,000 was awarded for painting to Kevin Chin for his snow covered landscape Less than white 2015. In subsequent years the prize may be for works on paper, small sculpture or new media.

For more information about the Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize visit

For more information about the Bayside Artist in Residence Program visit

Smiley is currently exhibiting Somewhere in the city until 11 July, with support from Arts Project Australia, at 24 High Street, Northcote. For more information visit

Page last updated: 17 Jun 2015