Boat on beach wins Wales Artist of the Year prize

A video of a woman waiting in a boat for the tide to take her away has won the Welsh Artist of the Year prize for its creator.

Gemma Copp's 13-minute film, shot on Swansea beach, earned her the £2,000 prize for a work judges called "touching and poetic".

She said the video, Rising Tides, represented a desire to escape from a place but getting dragged back.

Ms Copp had previously won the video prize in the 2010 awards.

The 30-year-old fine art graduate, who studied at Swansea Metropolitan University, grew up in the city and said the sea was part of her daily life.

It is the first time she has set an artwork on the beach, and in order to get an uninterrupted shot had to get down to the beach very early in the morning, as well as wait for the right weather and tidal conditions.

The video shows Ms Copp sitting in a boat on the beach holding balloons. The boat is slowly nudged back to shore by the incoming tide.

First of all she needed to find the right boat, which she eventually bought on eBay, before beginning the filming process.

She said: "Everyone has a desire from time to time to escape their general lives.

"It took about three months to actually make it. It was quite a long process from the first thought to coming to make the work.

"I did it from the end of August last year until October. I'd set off early in the morning but I had to wait for the tide to be high and the weather. It could be a week before I could film again.

"I did have to wait for dry days - that's why it took three months probably!"

The unusual nature of the project attracted some attention from other beachgoers.

"I did have a couple of comments," Ms Copp said. "I saw the same people quite often and I was waving to them. People were intrigued. Somebody said it made them smile."

She eventually got about 10 takes with which to make the film.


The artist admitted to being a bit shocked on hearing she had won the prize.

"It was lovely. It's just great that your work is acknowledged," she said.

Ms Copp, who works part-time in a Swansea store, plans to put her prize money towards future work.

She has previously won the Artist of the Year video prize in 2010, was shortlisted in last year's awards and has exhibited her work in Wales, London and Athens and will take part in the Mannheim Film Festival in Germany in September.

The Welsh Artist of the Year exhibition is at St David's Hall in Cardiff until 6 August.

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