BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin announced Montreal-based artist, Erik Nieminen, as the Grand Prize Winner of the 9th Annual BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series. The world’s largest online art platform, Artsy, curated the star-studded grand finale celebration at the iconic Villa Casa Casuarina for the second year. The mansion’s lavish, old-world design was infused with Miami’s tropical persona, where actress Tessa Thompson hosted an illustrious mix of artists, celebrities, musicians, and industry innovators including Laura Harrier, Teyana Taylor,Brendan Fallis, Shaun Ross, Kevin Garnett, Chloe Wise, Beau Dunn, and Sarah Bahbah. Attendees sipped artfully crafted BOMBAY SAPPHIRE cocktails while dancing to music by DJ duo Sofi Tukker.
Launched in 2010, the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series is an annual arts competition committed to fostering up-and-coming visual artists by providing a national platform to showcase their work. Over the past six months, the Artisan Series program embarked on a search across North America to discover top emerging creatives. From a pool of over 6,000 submissions, the top 15 finalists were given the opportunity to showcase their work at SCOPE Miami Beach, one of the world’s most prestigious international art fairs, in advance of the finale. After careful consideration by this year’s esteemed panel of judges, including Head Curator of Artsy Matthew Israel, SCOPE Vice President Daria Brit Greene, and Artisan Series National Curator Andre Guichard, Thompson took the stage to announce Erik Nieminen as the grand prize winner. As part of his winning prize, Nieminen will collaborate with Artsy on an immersive public art project in New York City next summer and receive a $10,000 cash prize.
Nieminen absorbed his victory stating, “It’s been an incredible honor to exhibit my work alongside so many talented peers. I’m profoundly grateful for the exposure I’ve gained by showcasing my work throughout the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Artisan Series and SCOPE Miami Beach. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with a groundbreaking partner like Artsy and can’t wait to share my new work with the world next summer in New York City.”
In addition to Nieminen, two other artists were recognized for pushing creative boundaries in the industry: Second Place Winner Judy McReynolds-Bowman (Detroit) and People’s Choice Winner J Margulis (Miami). For their awards, the two will create new and innovative works of art, scheduled to unveil next year at public gallery exhibits in their hometowns of Detroit and Miami.
Following the announcement of Nieminen’s win, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Brand Director for North America Tom Spaven reflected on the program’s dedication to fostering rising creatives stating, “The Artisan Series has had a longstanding commitment to providing up-and-coming artists with a global stage to showcase their talents. It’s always exhilarating to witness these artists spark their inner creativity to express themselves, and I can’t wait to see how Nieminen inspires others to explore the furthest boundaries of their artistry through self-expression.”
As the evening culminated, Tessa Thompson ascended the stage to express her admiration for the Artisan Series and its commitment to serving the creative community stating, “There is such an extraordinary pool of diverse, undiscovered talent who are not afforded a platform or opportunity to share their artistry with the world. Now, more than ever, it’s important to stand behind organizations that embrace diversity in the arts, which is why I’m thrilled to be involved with this year’s BOMBAYSAPPHIRE Artisan Series as we celebrate the creativity of each and every one of the artists here tonight.”